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1505 - 1658 


P, E. PIERIS, LITT. D. (Otutab) 
Ceylon Civil Service, 

i,6tXfiTXD B7 

a. B. NAISri. B. X. (Oioa.) 
Ceylon Civil Service. 





1^41 <i^ 


Dear Lady Blake, 

I have written this book in the hope 
that it will awaken in those of your fellow country- 
men and fellow countrywomen whose hands it may 
chance to reach, an interest in Ceylon and a desire 
to understand her people. In that respect you and 
Sir Henry have set a shining example, and in grate- 
ful recognition I venture respectfully to dedicate this 

work to you» 

Yours sincerely, 
3rd June. 1920. P» E. PIERIS, 

"Son of nmn, stand upon thy feet." 


The period of the history cf Ceylon which is 
covered by the present work has been already dealt 
with by me in another book which, inasmuch as it 
was addressed primarily to the people of that country, 
assumed in the reader a degres of knowledge which 
no one who has not resided there for many years 
can have, and was hurdemed with a minuteness of 
detail which, however novel and interesting to the 
local student, cannot but weary, if not repel, the 
general reader„ And yet the story of the Portuguese 
in Ceylon is of more than local interest, for it 
depicts for us a characteristic phase of the beginning 
of European expansion in the East. A hundred and 
fifty three years after the Portuguese first landed in 
Ceylon they were expelled from the country, leaving 
the gloomy word Failure writ large over all their 
actions. That however was not all, for they left 
the Sinhalese a broken race, with their ancient 
civilisation brought to the verge of ruin, and their 
scheme of life well-nigh destroyed^ 

In 1796 the British flag was unfurled over the 
country ; and though perhaps the old romance of life 
has gone, never again to return, a material pros- 
perity and a personal security such as have not been 
known before have grown up under its protectionc 
It is difficult for the West to understand the East, 

and for that reason this book has been re-written 
for the EngHsh reader as some contribution to the 
increase of that knowledge. For the matter contained 
therein I am solely responsible ; any credit which 
may be considered due for the manner in which 
that material is presented to the reader, should be 
ascribed to Mr. Naish, for whose incisive and illumin- 
ating criticism I cannot too deeply express my 
gratitude. A complete Bibliographical List will be- 
found in the first Volume of 'C^yioii, the Portuguese. 

^""^•^ p. E. P. 



The Ramayana story. Arrival of Wijayo. The Kingdom of 
the Fandiyans. The conservation of water. Sinhalese tanks. 
Introduction of Buddhism. The Bo tree. Dagobas. Pchtical divisions 
of the Island. Elara. Duttha Gamani. Anuradhapura. Walagamba. 
The Tri Pitakas. Embassy to Rome. The Waituiya heresy. Siri 
SangaBo. The Danta Dhatu. Buccha Gcsha. The Mehcwansa. 
Moggalana. Polonnaruwa. The Pandiyan invasion. The Choliyans. 
Wijaya Bahu. His reforms. Parakrarna Bahu. His training. The 
gems of Ceylon. Victories of Parakrama Bahu. His reforms. 
J'oreign expeditions. The Kalinga invasion. Pardita Parakrama 
Bahu. Jafanapatam. Jayawardhana Kotte. The Kanda Uda Rata, 


Portugal. Francisco de Almeida, Arrival of the Portuguese 
in Ceylon. Kolon Tota. The Portuguese at Kotte. Description 
of Kotte. The Sinhalese. Their mode of life. King Dharma 
Parakrama Bahu. Treaty with the Portuguese. Cinnamon. Elep= 
hant3. The Portuguese padrao. The position of the Portuguese. 
Their Factory abandoned. Affonco de Alboquerque. The new- 
policy. The M jors. Opposition to ths Portug jes3. Peace restored. 
The Pearl fishery. Method of fishing. Accession of Wijaya Bahu. 
The fort of Colombo, The Sinhalese army. Land tenure. Siege 
of the fort. Peace. 


Sinhalese marriages. Polygamy and Polyandry, Deva Raja 
Sinha. Death of Wijaya Bahu. The King's investiture. The lucky 
hour. The Minister lUangakon. The fort abandoned. The Samorin 
of Calicut. Mayadunna and the Moors. Battle of Rameswaram, 
Samudra Devi. The Turks at Diu Arrival of Miguel Ferreira. 
Expedition ajaiast Miyadaina. Peaca restored. Dharmapala selected 
as hair to the Throna. His coronation in effigy. A Portuguese 
Alvara. Arrangements with the Portuguese. The King's family. 
Expedition against Jaffna. Changes in Earopa. The Franciscans. St. 
Fra.i:i3 Xavisr. Tna Mimr miisacre. Djm Joao de Castro. The 
King of Portugal and conversion. 


Methods of conversion. Antonio Moniz Barretto. Mayadunna'a 
dip'omacy. Barretto as missionary. The Viceroy in Ceylon. Murder 
of Bhuwaneka Bahu. Misrule of the Pcituguese. Changes in 

Portugal The Viceroy as robber. Sitawaka occupied. The Portuguese 
at Kotte. Sembahap Peruiral. Buddhism and tolerance. Colombo 
rebuilt. Arrest of Widiye Bandara. Leeches. Raja Sinha. Mudu* 
kondapola. Death of Widiye Bandara. Conversion of Sembahap 
Perumal. Removal of the Danta Dhatu. Conversion in Ceylon. 
Dharmapala baptised. Effects of his conversion. Buddhism in 
Ceylon. Education. Felly of Dharmapala. 


Mayadunna as nationalist leader. Battle of MuUeriyawa. 
Hostilities. Kotte besieged. Dha-mapala at Colonibo. Diogo de Melo. 
Munnessaram Temple. Poisoning of Dharmapala. Abdication of 
Mayadunna. Dom Sebastiao. Colombo besieged. The donation of 
Dharmapala. The Uda Rata invaded. Dharmapala's successor 
nommated. War preparations. Raja Sinha and the Priesthood. 
The Sri Pada. Alagiyawanna Mukawetti. Sinhalese Literature. Sri 
Rahula. The Sevul Sandesaya and Raja Sinha's Court The 
Sinhalese army. 


Preparations at Colombo. The siege begun. An assault. Sin- 
halese tactics. Mining. A naval engagement. Plague. Another assault. 
A raiding expedition. Destruction of Devundara. The siege raised. 
The Portuguese at Senkadigala. Revolt of the Udu Rata. Death 
of Raja Sinha. Aritta Kivendu Perumal. Sitawaka occupied Change 
in Portuguese policy. Its effects. Condition of Portugal. Portuguese 


De Sousa in Ceylon. Senkadagala occupied. The VeddahSc 
Proposed m.arnage of Dcna Catherina. Death of Jayawira. The 
Portuguese withdrawal. Their defeat. Reprisals. Effect of the defeat. 
Dom. Jeronymo de Azavedo. Ediril'e Rala. Intermarriage. Sinhalese 
rewards of merit. Honorific names. Revolt of Edirille Rala. 
Retreat of the Pcrtuguese. The pursuit. The rebels repulsed. 
Capture of Edirille Rala. Triimph of Sam arakon Rala. Death of 
the rebel. Dharmapala and the Portuguese. His appeal to King 
Philip. Dishonesty of the Portuguese. Death of Dharmapala, 


The Convention of Malwana. The successor of Dharmapala. 
The political divisions. Portuguese policy. The Buddhist revival. 
Simao Correa and Simao Pinhao. Hostilities. Cruelty of de 
Azavedo. The Rhodiyas. The Portuguese advance. Plot againss 

the King. Balane Fort. Failure ot the plot. Spain and the Hollan- 
ders. Van Spilbergen at Court. Sinhalese ideas on eating. A 
banquet at the palace. European sympathies of the King. Sinha- 
lese music. Dancing and singing. Seebald de Weert at Court. 


The Portuguese at Balane. View from Balane. The Great Re- 
treat. Samarakon and the Crown. Mahvana sacked. The Portu- 
guese failure. Return of de Weert. Drunkenness. The betel leaf. 
Death of de Weert. Negociations with the King. Samarakon ban- 
ished. Death of Wimala Dharma. His cremation. Attitude of King 
Philip. Misgovemment of the Portuguese. De Azavedo's policy. 
Salt. Portuguese preparations. Arrival of the Jesuits. The Viceroy 
and the Hollanders. The condition of the Portuguese. The right 
of Sanctuary'. King Senerat. Marcellus de Boschouwer at Court. 


Anlao Vaz Ferreira. Alagiyawanna Mukawetti. The Tombo. 
Loss of title deeds. The Franciscans and their claims. Distribu- 
tion of the villages. Nindagama tenure. Caste among the Sinha- 
lese. Korale Vidahes. Crown dues. Ceylon artisans. The Cinnamon 
revenue. Elephants and pearls. The gem lands. Arecanut. Maralas. 
Minor taxes. The system of punishments. Slavery. Presents 


Dom Francisco de Meneses Roxo. Condition of the Portuguese. 
King Senerat. Manuel Mascarenhas Homem and his instructions. 
The sale of offices. Portuguese methods of warfare. The coconut 
palm. Sinhalese military tactics. A comet. Departure of Ferreira. 
A pretender. Anuradha Pura. Nikapitiya Bandara. Battle of Gan- 
dolaha. The pretender crowned as Emperor. He retires. Balane 
captured by Senerat The troubles of the Portuguese. The New 
Year. Nikapitiya withdraws Northwards. Portuguese demoralised. 
Treaty of 1617. End of de Azavedo. Arrival of Constantino de 
Sa. His reforms. Defeat of Baretto. Atrocities of Teixeira. Death 
of Baretto. Gratitude to de Sa. 


Jorge de Alboquerque as General. He is succeeded by de Sa. 
Trincomalee occupied. Further reforms of de Sa. He expels the 
Moors. And erects a fort at Batticaloa. Birth of the future 
Raja Sinha. He becomes Aga Raja. The campaign of 1629, Ill- 
ness of de Sa. Conspiracy against him. Invasion of Uwa. De- 
teat and death of de Sa. Colomlx) besieged. The Sinhalese with 

draw. Dom Jorge de Almeida as General. Treaty of 1633. The 
condition of Portugal. Financial Chaos. Death of Senerat. Raja 
Sinha and the Hollanders. Diogo de Melo and the Court. Hosti- 
lities recommence. The Parangi Hatane. Battle of Gannoruwa. 
The King's thank-offering. 


Capture of Batticaloa. Treaty of Batticaloa. The policy of the 
Hollanders. Quarrel between the King and Wijaya Pala. Capture 
of Negombo. Sinhalese medicine. The fort of Galle. The assault. 
Division of the spoil. The Portuguese in consternation. Coster at 
Court. The King's reply. Death of Coster. Desertion at Galle. 
The Portuguese dominion threatened. Joao de Ribeiro. Negumbo 
retaken. Revolt of Wijaya Pala. The Prince at Colombo. He leaves 
Ceylon. The obsequiousness of the Hollanders. Hostilities. The 
approach of peace. Negumbo occupied by the Hollanders. 
Declaration of peace. 


Adrian van der Stel. Capture of Pannara. The Hollanders non 
plussed. Their policy. Raja Sinha m peace time. His fondness for 
animals. European m.usic. His views on inter-marriage. The King 
as God. The Portuguese administration. Excesses of the Generals. 
Peculation. Oppression by minor officials. The law courts. The 
Military. The Religious Orders. The pledge at Malwana. Sinha- 
lese Law. Caste among the Sinhalese. The Portuguese and caste. 
Palanquin bearers. Petty oppression of the tenants. The areca- 
nut boom. The Chalias. The Lascarins. ^The dignity of the Sin- 
halese. Hostilities renewed. The Portuguese disorganised. Caspar 
de Figueira. Further fighting. The origin of the Esala Perahera. 
Its celebration. Arrival of Hulft. Fall of Kalutara. 


The fortification of Colombo. The siege begun. Baja Sinha and 
his dignity. Tennekon Appuhami. An Assault. The Hollanders re- 
pulsed. The King annoyed. The tactics of the besiegers. Mine and 
countermine. St. Thomas' image. Ferocity ofjHollanders towards non- 
combatants. Underground fighting. Portuguese appeal to the King. 
Hulft appointed the King's Director General. Plague in the town. 
Hulft before the King. His death. The King's grief. The Portu- 
guese defensive. The last assault. The resistance. Terms of sur- 
render. The evacuation of the fort. Raja Sinha disillusioned. He 
breaks off with the Hollandars. Colombo re-fortified. The King 
withdraws. Fall of Manar. The siege of Jaffna. The surrender. 

!** Yakdessa 

5 10 JS 

A lu Vihare° 

'"^'"' Galatjedcra 
\mbatfii.-io ' " 


Menikkaaawarafri^ ^ '" ' ^ 





is^Ts^^^' V SITAWA 



, Adam's Peak 

'Yudwvaral f% 

'■'■<• \ 


to illustrate 

the War with the 


' oKatuwana 



The great Indian Epic of the Ramayana, how- 
ever much involved in legend and myth, has, there 
is no reason to doubt, preserved for us the record 
of events which did actually take place in the early 
dawn of the history of Ceylon. It tells how Ravana, 
the fierce Island King, had captured the beautiful 
Sita, the wife of Rama Chandra,' a North Indian 
Prince, and how, to avenge the insult, her husband 
led a mighty army across the water to the invasion 
of Ravana's mysterious land. He was met by the 
army of Ravana, which, after a fierce battle, was 
driven back in confusion. Rama Chandra thereupon 
advanced to Ravana's fabled fortress, and after a 
siege of ten years succeeded in killing the King and 
rescuing the Princess. 

More certainty attaches to the story of the 
next invasion from India. It was the time of the 
full moon of the month of Wesak, 543 years before 
the birth of Christ, when over the loveliness of "the 
loveliest parcel of land the Creator has placed in 
this Earth,'" was thrown the warm embrace of the 
glowing Eastern Moon. Far away at Kusinara, Gau- 
tama Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened one, had 
reached Eternal Peace, and to the protection of Sekraya 
the Great God he commended Wijayo, the Lion born , 
who, exiled from India, that day had reached Ceylon 
with his seven hundred followers. And by the command 
of the god the Lotus-hued Vishnu, now appointed 
Protector of the Kingdom and the Faith which were 
to be, hastened to bless the Prince and to sprinkle 
holy water on his men, in preparation for the new 

2 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

life which was opening before them. Wijayo's attempts 
at colonising were successful, a portion of the aborigi- 
nal Yakkas* joined themselves to him, and in a few 
years his position was so firmly established that he 
was able to obtain a suitable consort from the most 
prominent of the ruling families of South India. 

The Kingdom of the Pandyans was known to 
the Greeks, and is mentioned by Ptolemy as the 
Regnum Pandioms. Its capital, Madura, from which 
more than one embassy visited the court of Augus- 
tus, was for many centuries the centre of Dravidian 
learning. Wijayo's marriage with the daughter of 
the Ruler of this country was a recognition of his 
position among the Princes of India, though this 
advantage was secured by sacrificing Kuweni, the 
aboriginal Princess whom he had married, and 
whose influence had been loyally exercised to con- 
solidate his power. 

Nature has scattered her gifts over this happy 
Island of Ceylon with an. unstinting hand. Jutting 
out as it does like a mole from the Indian Penin- 
sula, it is the meeting-ground of the two monsoons. 
Twice in the year, in May and in November, as the 
wind changes from the north-east to the south-west 
and back again, the moisture-laden clouds roll up from 
the ocean and pour their wealth in torrents on the 
thirsty land. The fierce tropical sun blazes forth, 
and in a short time the soil, however poor it may 
be, is covered with the rankest vegetation. The 
sun is always there, and if only this wealth of 
water can be secured from waste, the health and 
happiness of the people is in a large degree insured. 
For rice is the food of the tropics, and given water 
and sun, only a little scratching of the soil is 
required to provide an abundant harvest. Religious 
ceremonies mark every stage of its cultivation, and 
the proudest in the land would take his share in 
what is still esteemed the most honourable of all 

Early Irrigation 3 

From the earliest times the Sinhalese set them- 
selves to solve the problem of the conservation of 
the water, and so successful were their efforts that 
for generations the surplus of the grain which they 
produced was sent to feed the neighbouring conti- 
nent. Mighty dams were constructed across great 
valleys, and the water stored behind them was led by a 
skilful system of channels to irrigate wide tracts of 
country. Thus, within fifty years from the arrival 
of Wijayo, there was constructed the Abhaya Wewa. 
the first of that series of marvellous reservoirs which 
form the most amazing product of Sinhalese industry 
and science; and in two centuries the nation had 
reached a stage of prosperity the extent of which 
can be gauged from the fact that five hundred low- 
caste Chandalas had to be constantly employed in 
the task of scavenging its capital, Anuradhapura. 

Then there came that tremendous religious 
movement which has covered the Island with those 
mighty buildings the remains of which still compel 
our wonder and amazement, and which has left to 
the Sinhalese that heritage of high ideals, gentle- 
ness and contentment of which neither the centuries 
of ruthless warfare, nor the more insidious attacks 
of modern commercialism, has succeeded in robbing 
them. This religious movement dates from the 
arrival in Ceylon of Mihindu, the son of the Emperor 
Asoka, in B. C. 307, as the first Missionary of Bud- 
dhism. He was soon joined by his sister Sanghamitta, 
who brought with her in a vase of gold a sprig, 
which was planted at Anuradhapura, of that Bo» 
tree under the shadow of which Gautama had 
attained to Perfect Knowledge. 

It is doubtful if any other single incident in 
the long story of their race has seized upon the 
imagination of the Sinhalese with such tenacity as 
this of the planting of the aged tree. Like its pliant 
roots, which find sustenance on the face of the 
bare rock and cleave their way through the stoutest 

4 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

fabric, the influence of what it represents has 
penetrated into the innermost being of the people, 
till the tree itself has become almost human. The 
loving care of some pious observer has left on 
record in sonorous Pali, and with minute detail, 
the incidents of the day when the soil of Ceylon first 
received it; and to-day the descendants of the 
princely escort who accompained it from India continue 
to be its guardians. The axe of the ruthless inva- 
ders who for so many centuries to come were destined 
to spread ruin throughout the country, was rever- 
ently withheld from its base. And even now, on the 
stillest night, its heart-shaped leaves on their slender 
stalks ceaselessly quiver and sigh, as they have 
quivered and sighed for twenty-three centuries. 
The Buddhist looks forward to no greater happiness 
than once in his lifetime to make the pilgrimage to 
this tree, and there after offering his bloodless sacri- 
fice of oil and sweet-smelling flowers, to renew his 
vows not to take life' and not to drink strong 

Three objects are essential for the sanctity of 
every Buddhist place of worship. There must be a 
Bo tree, usually planted on a mound of earth sup- 
ported by an ornamental stone railing; an image 
of the Buddha, who is usually represented in one 
of three postures— erect, sedent or recumbent; and 
finally the dagoba\ or reliquary. 

As in every other age and country, relics 
have commanded the utmost reverence amongst the 
Sinhalese, and their zeal has been nowhere more 
prominently displayed than in the great structures 
which they erected for the protection of the relics 
of the Buddha. These dagobas were invariably bell- 
shaped, and rested on a solid platform of bricks. The 
tiny relic was enclosed in a leaf of gold, and formed 
the centre for an immense pile of bricks which was 
built round it in concentric circles of ever-v/idening 

Political Divisions 5 

diameter. A graceful solid spire, itself springing 
from a square base, crowned the structure and termi- 
nated in a finial of gold or bronze. The whole of 
the brickwork was coated with a strong cement 
prepared from lime, and whether in the bright 
sunlight, or when illuminated by thousands of tiny 
oil-lamps at night, it threw off a sheen of speckless 
white. Such was the Thuparama, the earliest and 
the most graceful of the dagobas of the Island, which 
was erected as a receptacle for the Buddha's Refec- 
tion Bowl; and round it thousands of pilgrims bow 
in worship to-day. 

Mihindu died in B. C. 258 when his body 
was cremated with extraordinary pomp, the whole 
Island joining in the celebration of the obsequies, 
which lasted several days. 

The Island was at this period of its histor^^ 
divided into three Kingdoms or Ratas. The most 
northerly of these was named Pihiti Rata, and also 
Raja Rata, the Country of the Kings, as it 
contained the Royal Capital. Its southern boundary 
was mainly defined by two rivers. Of these the 
first was the Maha Weli Ganga, the Great Sandy River, 
which has its source in the mountain known to Euro- 
peans as Adam's Peak, and flows in a north-easterly 
direction till it reaches the sea near the great harbour 
of Trincomalee. The second was the Deduru Oya 
which runs west from the central mountain plateau 
as far as Chilaw. Southward from the Maha Weli 
Ganga and the plateau lay the Kingdom of Ruhuna, 
which included the flat country as far as the Kalu 
Ganga, which joins the sea twenty-five miles south 
of Colombo. The central mountainous district and 
the rich western low country between the Kalu 
Ganga and the Deduru Oya formed the third 
Kingdom of Maya Rata. 

The peace and goodwill which followed the 
message of Mihindu could not last, and by 200 B, C, 

6 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

an invader from the Choromandel Coast', Elara 
by name, had seized the throne of Anuradhapura. 
Usurper and stranger though he was, even the priestly 
Buddhist chroniclers bear witness to the eminent 
qualities of this King, who "ruled the kingdom for 
forty-four years, administering justice with imparti- 
ality to friends and to foes." But a greater than 
Elara had already been born in the person of Gamani, 
the son of Kawan Tissa, the King of the Ruhunu 
Rata, a district which was always noted for the 
turbulent independence of its people. Intense and 
fiery patriotism characterised Gamani from his earliest 
years. As a boy of twelve when his mother, who 
had found him sleeping curled up in bed, advised him 
to lie with limbs outstretched, he had bitterly retorted, 
"Confined by the Damilas beyond the river, and on 
the other side by the unyielding ocean, how can I lie 
down with outstretched limbs ? " and no sooner had 
he reached man's estate than he began to prepare the 
army with which he hoped to drive the invader 
out of the country. 

But Kawan Tissa was cautious and withheld 
his consent, and the disappointed Prince in bitter 
jest sent his father a present of a female ornament, 
remarking : "Friends, my father if he were a man 
would not say so. Let him therefore wear this." 
The irate King gave orders for a golden chain to 
be prepared for the punishment of his impetuous 
son, and Gamani had to flee from the Court, thus 
earning the epithet of Duttha, or the Disobedient, 
which, in spite of his subsequent glorious career, has 
always been applied to him in history. 

The King did not long survive this incident, 
and Gamani at length found himself in a position to 
put his cherished plans into execution. A great army 
of horse and foot, of elephants and chariots, forced 
its way northwards. The forts guarding the road 
to Anuradhapura were soon captured, and at length 
the Sinhalese army appeared before Elara's capital 

Camani t 

and entered upon the construction of elaborate 
siege works. Elara thereupon marched out of the 
city to attack the enemy, and redoubt after redoubt 
fell before him till he came to where the King 
himself was stationed. Here the fight raged hottest, 
but Dighajantu, Elara's brave commander, was killed 
at the very feet of Gamani, and his men turned 
back in confusion. The Sinhalese hurried in pursuit, 
and the two Kings met near the southern gate of 
the city. Elara fell before the javelin of his rival, the 
city was captured, and before long the whole of the 
island recognised the sovereignty of Gamani. The 
body of Elara was cremated with all honour and 
a mound erected over his ashes ; while in acknow- 
ledgment of the goodness and chivalry of his foe, 
a decree was promulgated by the generous 
conqueror that royalty itself on passing that mound 
must dismount and silence its music — a decree which 
was loyally observed so long as a King reigned in 
the Island of Ceylon. 

Gamani now had leisure to attend to the 
improvement of the country. Numerous tanks were 
constructed, and the nine-storied Loiua Maha Paya 
at Anuradhapura raised on its sixteen hundred 
columns of granite for the accommodation of the 
priesthood. Silver and gold and precious stones 
were lavished without stint on the adornment of this 
superb structure, which was roofed throughout with 
copper. An exquisite throne of ivory with the emblems 
of the Sun and the Moon embossed in silver and 
gold occupied the main hall, while above it the white 
chatra or parasol, the symbol of dominion, glittered 
on its silver staff. A stupendous dagoba, the Ruvanveli 
Seya, was next begun, the whole cost being met out 
of the Royal Treasury. 

Gamani did not however live to see this task 
completed. As he lay on his deathbed he was carried 
out to where he could gaze on the unfinished 
structure, and there single-handed he fought his last 

S Ceylon and the Porkiguese 

fight with death, cheered by the assurance that 
for his meritorious acts his place was secure in 
heaven. His regenerate figure was seen to circle 
the great structure three times, and then to disappear 
into space in sight of the assembled multitudes ; and 
even today his memory is revered among the Sinha- 
lese as that of one of the greatest of the rulers of 

It v/as one of Gamani's successors, Walagamba, 
who erected the Abhayagiri Dagoba, the mightiest 
of its kind, which rising from its square platform of 
eight acres in extent, originally exceeded 400 feet 
in height. In his reign also, throughout the length 
and breadth of the country, every recess in the 
hard rock which could be converted into a human 
abode was prepared for the occupation of those 
devotees who desired to retire from the distractions 
of life and pass their time in contemplation. 

But it is a different work which has secured 
for him fame more indestructible than the living 
rock out of which his caves were fashioned. For 
nearly five centuries the Dharma, the Doctrine of the 
Buddha, had been handed down by word of mouth 
alone amongst the priesthood, just as even today 
the ritual of each ancient shrine is preserved only 
in the memories of those whose inherited duty it is 
to carry it out. It was, however, recognised that 
the time had come to record the Dharma in a form 
which would obviate any risk of unauthorised 
alteration. About eighty years, therefore, before the 
beginning of the Christian Era, five hundred of the most 
learned priests in the country met at the King's 
summons, among the rugged crags of the Alu 
Vihare* ; there, with infinite patience, they inscribed 
on long strips of palm leaf in the Pali language 
the profound Metaphysics of the Buddha, his dis- 
courses on Morality, and his code of Discipline.' 

Intercourse with Rome 9 

A series of undistinguished rulers now occupied 
the throne in rapid succession. It was during this 
period that, as recorded by Pliny, four ambassadors 
from Ceylon made their way to Rome on a 
complimentary mission to a State the intercourse with 
which is still evidenced by large finds of Roman 
coins in the Island ; but no event of special import- 
ance marked the history of the country till the 
accession to the throne of Gaja Bahu, who, early 
in the beginning of the second century of the Christian 
era, invaded Tanjor with a great army. The 
expedition was entirely successful. The King of 
Tanjor, intimidated by the overwhelming power 
which accompanied Gaja Bahu, was glad to make 
peace, surrendering to him not only the 12,000 
Sinhalese prisoners and the Bowl Relic which had 
been captured during a previous invasion of Ceylon, 
but 12,000 more of his own subjects. 

A hundred years later Voharaka Tissa, who 
humanised the administration of justice by the abolition 
of torture, was faced by the problem of a threatened 
religious schism. An attempt was made to introduce 
a new doctrine known as the Waitulya, which 
embraced a considerable amount of Brahminical 
teaching, as the genuine Dharma of the Buddha ; but the 
King ordered the destruction of the work and the 
degradation of the priests of the Abhayagiri esta- 
blishment who had adopted it. 

The rigid adherence of the eccentric saint-king 
Siri Sanga Bo to the letter of the Dharma, reduced 
the country to a state of anarchy. The prohibition 
against taking life was regarded by him as forbidding 
the infliction of capital punishment on condemned 
criminals, who consequently were often secretly 
released from custody, while the bodies of those who 
had died from natural causes were exposed to view 
at the place of execution. Various miracles are stated 
to have been brought about by the power of his 


10 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

virtues ; and when at last a rebellion broke out 
headed by his minister Gothabaya, rather than be 
the cause of bloodshed he abdicated the throne and 
fled from Anuradhapura. At Attanagalla he miracu- 
lously separated his head from his body and sent it 
to the rebellious minister in the hands of a poor 
peasant who had shared his meal with him, so that 
he might obtain the reward which had been pro- 
mised for its production; and there are still shown 
there the plants, self-sown, which yearly spring up 
in the pond into which the saint threw a handful 
of the boiled rice which had formed the peasant's 

A great temple was erected by Gothabaya to 
mark the place of the King's death, and his vigorous 
repression of the Waitulyan heresy, which once again 
broke out at Abhayagiriya, won for him the support 
of the powerful priesthood. His own son Maha Sena* 
however, did not escape the taint, and under him 
the Lowa Maha Paya was razed to the ground, till 
a threatened rebellion compelled him to alter his 
views and once again to drive out the Waitulyans. 
The ponderous mass of the Jetawanarama, together 
with numerous temples and sixteen tanks, including 
the great Minneriya Wewa which once irrigated 
many thousand acres of fields, marked the closing years 
of his reign. 

In A. D. 305, during the reign of his son Kit 
Siri Mewan, the right Eye Tooth of the Buddha, 
which for eight hundred years had been preserved 
at Dantapura, was brought to Ceylon by the Princess 
Ranmali, daughter of the King of Kalinga,' whose 
country had been invaded by enemies, and delivered 
to the Sinhalese King. Even today no relic on earth 
commands the veneration of a larger number of the 
human race than this, the Danta Dhatu. Among the 
Sinhalese it obtained the position which the Palladium 
held in Imperial Rome, for the sovereignty of the 
country could not be denied to the possessor of the 

The Danta Dhatu 11 

relic. Wherever the violence of the invader forced 
the King to establish his Court, the Maligawa, which 
housed the sacred object, rose within the Royal 
precincts— smaller, but incomparably more beautiful 
in its workmanship, than the Wasala of the King. 
The wealth of the country was freely poured out 
to render it honour; its attendants formed an 
establishment which was kingly in its size and 
arrangement ; entire villages were dedicated to it for the 
supply of the offerings of rice and flowers and oil ; 
ivory and gold and gems concealed the massive 
frames of the narrow doors which guarded the 
approach to the shrine, where one King at least 
offered up all the ornaments of royalty which he 
wore upon his person. 

The village of Kirawella was set apart for the 
maintenance of the Princess Ranmali and her Consort, 
and the royal rank of their descendants was 
recognised even by the Portuguese. 

Jeta Tissa the artist, Bujas Raja the surgeon, 
and Upatissa who fed the squirrels in his park and 
built homes for incurables and maternity hospitals 
till the faithlessness of his wife led to his assassin- 
ation, bring us to the times of Mahanama, when 
the eloquent Buddhist Brahmin Buddha Gosha, The 
Voice of Buddha, so famous as the missionary of 
Burmah, translated the Commentary of the Pitakas 
into Pali, and Fa Hian the Chinese traveller visited 
Ceylon, of which he has left us a valuable account. 

An invasion from South India once more com- 
pelled the Royal Family to take shelter in the Ruhuna, 
till Dhatu Sena (458-476 A. D.) was able to re-establish 
himself at Anuradhapura. The Kala Wewa with its 
great dam six miles in length, which still feeds 
Anuradhapura by its fifty-four mile Canal, is the chief 
surviving monument of this able King, under whose 
directions the great historical chronicle of the 
Mahawjnsa was begun by his own uncle. The cruelty 
and avarice of Kasyapa, his son by one of the junior 

12 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

wives, led to the deposition of the King and his 
terrible death by being walled up alive. Moggalana 
the rightful heir fied to India, and the frightened 
parricide built for himself the amazing rock fortress 
of Sigiriya, whence he attempted to win the favour 
of his subjects. But the day of retribution was fast 
approaching. Moggalana landed with an army of 
mercenaries, and Kasyapa unwisely leaving his 
stronghold gave him battle in the open field. Kasyapa's 
army was defeated and fled in confusion, and 
the wretched man, rather than fall into the hands 
of the avenger, killed himself on the field of battle. 

A thousand of the parricide's partisans were 
put to death, and numerous others were punished by 
having their ears and noses cut off and being banished 
from the country. Moggalana richly rewarded those 
who had shown kindness to his father when he had 
fallen from power. For the first time also in the 
history of the country a naval force was organised 
for the purpose of coast defence ; and the King's 
happiness was completed by the arrival from India 
of a fresh relic, a Hair of the Buddha. 

His son Kumaradas immolated himself on the 
funeral pyre of his friend the poet Kalidas who had 
been foully murdered by a courtesan, and for many 
years no king of outstanding ability occupied the 
throne. A dreary tale of murder, civil war and foreign 
invasion fills up the greater portion of this chapter 
in the history of the Island, interspersed however 
with strange flashes of romantic chivalry. Princes 
settle their claims to the throne by single combat 
in the presence of their armies, and the victor 
entreats the defeated rival not to kill himself in his 
despair, a prayer unheeded in the depth of shame. 
Poetasters who had attained to the regal power would 
send men round their dominions upon elephants, 
singing the songs composed by their royal masters. 
In other cases the work of government would be 
neglected while the King coaxed his children into 

Polonnaruwa 13 

attending to their studies. Learning, however, main- 
tained a hold on the country, several poets of merit 
flourished at this time, and in various places important 
colleges were established. 

In the eighth century Dapula II transferred the 
seat of Government to Polonnaruwa, fifty-five miles 
to the South East of Anuradhapura. This King it 
was v/ho was the first to realise the importance of 
preserving authentic records of all legal proceedings, 
which he ordered to be deposited in the palace itself. 
A gentle and kind-hearted man, he established hospitals 
in various parts of the country and took a delight 
in entertaining children. Even the beasts of the field 
and the birds of the air were not forgotten by him, 
and the tact and delicacy of his sympathy is proved 
by what the ancient chronicler of his acts has recorded, 
that he used to send food to destitute ladies under 
cover of the night. 

In spite of the political weakness of the country 
the Buddhist virtues were enthusiastically cultivated 
during the recurring intervals of peace. Kings 
divided among the poor their weight of treasure, 
and set an example to their people in dutiful 
affection to their mothers. More than one of them 
expounded the most complicated dogmas of the 
Dharma before congregations of priests, while others 
were authors of works of considerable learning. The 
establishment of free hospitals, the endowment of 
colleges, and the construction of tanks and places 
of worship, were tasks in which kings vied with 
each other, and their ministers and generals followed 
their example ; while Mahindo IV (964-980 A. D.) 
exempted all temple lands from the payment of the 
royal dues for ever. 

But the dissensions within the country once 
again attracted the attention of the Indian marauders. 
Anuradhapura was occupied and sacked by the Pand- 
yans in the middle of the ninth country, and a 
heavy indemnity alone secured their withdrawal to 

14 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

their own country. The Sinhalese, however, had not 
to wait long for their revenge; within a generation 
the sack of Madura more than compensated for the 
plunder of Anuradhapura. In the middle of the next 
century an invasion was attempted by the Choliyans, 
but they were brought to bay and were glad to 
return with what booty they could. A Sinhalese army 
followed them beyond the sea into their own country, 
and compelled them to make good the plunder 
which they had seized. The tide of invasion thus 
temporarily checked returned with overwhelming 
force ; the North of the Island was v/rested foot by foot 
by Dravidian tribes from the Sinhalese Kings ; and by 
the beginning of the eleventh century the power of 
the latter was confined to the Ruhuna district. 

Once more the Choliyans swooped on the Island. 
By treachery they succeeded in capturing the King 
with his jewels and treasure. The temples and 
dagobas were plundered, "and like unto the demons 
who suck up the blood, they took to themselves all 
the substance"^" that was in Ceylon. The exasperated 
Sinhalese led by two of their noblemen erected a 
stronghold from which they maintained so stubborn 
a resistance that the Choliyans had once more to 
withdraw to the North of the Island. Nevertheless 
the power had departed from the hands of the 
Sinhalese Princes, and for many years the country 
was little more than the hunting ground of the 
Indian warriors. 

But the spirit of resistance was strong within 
the people, and a leader came forw^ard in the person 
of Wijaya Bahu. In spite of internal dissensions 
which intensified the difficulty of his task, he patiently 
developed his plans till he found himself strong 
enough to place two armies on the field. Fortress 
after fortress fell before his generals, and at last 
he himself took the field, and appeared before 
Polonnaruwa. The Choliyans, who fought with more 
than their usual courage, were defeated, and had to 

Parakrama Baku 15 

shelter themselves behind the walls of the capital. 
For six weeks more the struggle was kept up with 
the utmost desperation ; then at last the Sinhalese 
succeeded in scaling the ramparts and carrying the 
place by storm. Every one of the hated Choliyans 
was put to the sword. 

Once more the Sinhalese flag floated over the 
whole of Ceylon, and Wijaya Bahu set himself 
vigorously to create order out of the chaos that the 
Indians had left behind. Courts of Justice were 
organised, priests were obtained frcm Pegu'^ to 
restore the sacerdotal succession, the capital was 
strengthened and beautified, numerous tanks were 
constructed, and amidst all these labours the King 
found time to devote himself to literature. The 
latter part of his long reign of fifty-five years was 
tranquil and prosperous, and when he died in A. D. 
1109 the terror of the Choliyan domination was a 
thing almost forgotten in the Island. 

His death was once again the signal for 
internal discord, but a mighty figure had appeared 
on the stage. Great things had been prophesied at 
the birth of Parakrama Bahu, the son of the Princess 
Ratanavali, and the thoughtful quiet prince was 
given an education suitable to his future destiny. 
Not only was he carefully trained in those warlike 
accomplishments of riding, archery and swordsmanship 
which the necessities of the times rendered essential 
to every Prince, and in that knowledge of juris, 
prudence which is expected from the chief judge of 
a country, but also in the more refining arts of 
poetry, music and elegant writing ; and frcm his 
youth he took a share in the practical administra. 
tion of the government. High thoughts welled within 
his breast. "If I who am born of a princely race 
should not do a deed worthy of the heroism of 
Kings, my life would be of none avaiP^" Taking 
only his arms with him he travelled in disguise 
through the country, and organised a system of 

16 Ceylon and th2 Portuguese 

spies by means of which he made himself conver- 
sant with the disposition of the people and also with 
the various strategic routes. His succession to the 
government of the Ruhuna brought the fulfilment of 
his long-cherished schemes within the range of 
possibility. Garrisons were formed on the frontier 
outposts, and on every side all land suitable for rice 
cultivation was irrigated and utilised, so as to render 
the country independent of foreign supplies in case of 
prolonged hostilities. The local bodies of troops were 
systematically drilled in manoeuvres, mercenaries were 
obtained from India in large numbers, the artificers were 
organised for the preparation of the necessary weapons, 
and the sons of the nobiUty trained in arms at his 
own palace. 

Money, however, was lacking, and a special 
Minister was delegated to supervise the collection 
of the revenue. Gold and silver are not found in the 
Island, but the lack of these has been compensated 
for by the abundance pf her gems. The country 
lying between the Kelani Ganga and Walawe Ganga 
on the South, and stretching inland within the 
mountain zone, has from the remotest times been 
renowned for the beauty and the lustre of the rubies, 
sapphires and the catseyes which are there met 
with in such abundance. Great mounds of earth 
still mark the diggings of Indian visitors who came 
in search of them probably before the arrival of the 
Sinhalese, and the markets of that country were 
always ready to absorb all that the Island could 
produce. Gems have from the earliest times been 
the property of the King, and the work of digging 
for them was now energetically taken in hand. Gem- 
mining is not an expensive undertaking, for the 
debris of the crystalline rocks in which the precious 
stones are found is reached at a depth of about 
twenty feet. This is washed in circular baskets of 
cane and the gems picked out by hand. The 
Sinhalese knew that inorganic crystals grew and 

Parakrama Baku 17 

multiplied and reproduced their kind, or, as they put 
it, that gems ripened under the action of the sun, 
and mining would not be carried on at the same 
spot more often than once in twelve years. The 
exploitation of this source of revenue soon brought 
the necessary treasure to the coffers of the King, 
and when everything was ready he openly declared 

Polonnaruwa was soon taken by storm, but the 
riotous conduct of Parakrama's soldiers so exasperated 
the inhabitants, that they drove his generals away 
from the city. Parakrama Bahu was not long in 
raising a second army, and Polonnaruwa once again 
fell into his hands. A confused period of fierce 
struggle followed. Manabarana, who led the opposing 
faction, after a terrible battle which lasted seven 
days, fled from the field to die; and Parakrama 
Bahu was crowned King of the whole of Ceylon, 
amidst scenes of amazing pomp and splendour. 

The consolidation of the Kingdom being success- 
fully achieved, Parakrama Bahu next took in hand 
the reform of the Buddhist religion, which by the 
oppression of the foreigner and the negligence of its 
votaries was in a critical condition. By the exercise 
of his tact and authority the dissensions among the 
various fraternities were healed, and the priesthood 
itself purified. Polonnaruwa was strengthened by a 
chain of ramparts ; a magnificent palace with a large 
theatre and parks added to the beauty of the city; 
a hospital which was regularly visited by the King, 
gave proof of his sympathy for suffering mankind; 
while the precious Bowl and Tooth relics were 
transferred to the capital. 

The insulting attitude assumed by the King of 
Pegu towards the Sinhalese ambassadors accredited 
to his Court, and his seizure of a Sinhalese Princess 
on her way to Cambodia, led to the despatch of a 


18 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

punitive expedition which took his capital, put the 
King to death, and returned to Ceylon after impos- 
ing a tribute on the conquered. Another army 
was despatched to assist the Pandiyans against 
the Choliyan King Kulasekara. The campaign which 
followed was triumphantly successful, and coins struck 
in the country with the superscription of Parakrama 
Bahu were left behind in token of his suzerainty. 

The thirty-three years of his reign were indeed 
among the most flourishing in the history of the 
Island. A Civil Service was carefully organised in 
its various departments ; the ancient edifices at 
Anuradhapura were restored ; numerous parks were 
laid out with fruit trees and flowers ; over six thou- 
sand image houses and seventy-three great dagobas 
were erected; and thousands of tanks were repaired 
in addition to the one thousand four hundred and 
seventy-one reservoirs which were newly constructed ; 
while hospitals and libraries were established in 
various parts of the coimtry. So efficient was his 
administration that it was said "Even a woman might 
traverse the length of the Island with a precious 
jewel, and not be asked what it was.^^ The great 
King died in the year 1197; Ceylon never again 
produced his like. 

Not a generation had elapsed after the death 
of Parakrama Bahu, when once again Ceylon was 
overrun by Indian hordes, starting this time from the 
Kingdom of Kalinga^^ Twenty thousand merciless 
warriors swept through the country, plundering, 
ravishing, mutilating, and slaughtering. Even the 
yellow robe of the ascetic could not avail to save the 
person of the priest. The holiest shrines were violated 
and overthrown. Ruwanweli Seya, "which stood like 
the embodiment of the glory of all the pious Kings 
of old," ^^ was despoiled of its priceless relics. In 
sheer wantonness they loosed the cords which held 
together the rare palm-leaf books, and scattered the 

Jajpiapatam 19 

leaves to the winds. The King himself was taken 
prisoner and bHnded, and then the marauders estab- 
lished themselves at Polonnaruwa, while another 
capital was erected by the Sinhalese at Dambadeniya. 
The vigorous action, however, of Pandita Parakrama 
Bahu (1235-1270 A. D.), a King distinguished as much 
for his success in the field as for the splendour of 
his intellectual attainments, compelled them to abandon 
Polonnaruwa and retreat towards the continent ; but 
they were intercepted at Kala Wewa and put to the 

Repeated invasions from India followed the 
death of Pandita Parakrama Bahu, and the Tooth 
Relic was captured by the Pandiyans; it was, how- 
ever, restored on the personal intercession of the 
King, who proceeded to India for the purpose. It 
was about this time that the Sidat Sangarawa, the 
most important work on Sinhalese Grammar, was 

Meanwhile a Tamil settlement had been formed 
in Jaffnapatam, the sandy peninsula in which the 
Island terminates on the North, and its King Arya 
Chakrawarti was attempting to spread his dominion 
over the Sinhalese territory. The feeble Bhuwaneka 
Bahu maintained a nominal rule as King of the 
mountain region, while the country below was 
administered by the powerful Minister Alakeswara 
Mantri. The new fortress of Jayawardhana Kotte, 
six miles from the Colombo of today, which was erected 
by him, served as a rallying point for the Sinhalese, 
and the defeat of two Tamil armies was the auspi- 
cious prelude to the reign of Rukule Parakrama 
Bahu, which began in 1415 A. D. Kotte now 
became the Capital and thither the Tooth Relic was 
transferred. Aii invasion of the Canarese" was 
successfully repelled, and a naval expedition punished 
the piratical Malabar Prince of Vira Rama Pattanam 
for the seizure of a Sinhalese trading vessel. 

^ Ceylon and the Portuguese 

The lofty plateau which formed the eastern 
portion of the Maya Rata was at this period a 
subordinate principality known by the descriptive 
name of Kanda Uda Rata," the country above 
the Mountains. Its capital was the small town of 
Senkadagala, known today among Europeans as Kandy, 
and it was ruled by a Prince named Jaya Sinha. 
Being however suspected of treasonable designs, he 
was reduced to subjection by the younger son of 
the King ; while his elder son occupied Jaffna, which 
became his principality till he succeeded his father 
at Kotte. His short reign of seven years was 
marked by a great rebellion in the South, suppressed 
by his brother, who subsequently ascended the throne 
as Wira Parakrama Bahu. He in turn was succeeded 
by his son Dharma Parakrama Bahu, during whose 
reign the Portuguese visited the Island for the first 


1. Rama Chandra is worshipped as an Incarnation of Vishnu. 
The ruling Rajput families of Jeypur and Udaipur claim 
descent from him. 

2. So says the Portuguese Captain Joao Ribeiro, who was in 
the Island from 1640 to 1658. 

3. Wijayo claimed to be the grandson of a Lion, stnha ; his 
followers are the Sinhalese, the Lion Race. The month of 
Wesak corresponds to May — June. 

4. There can be little doubt from the narrative contained in 
the ancient Sinhalese chronicle, the Mahawatisa, that the 
Yakkhas had attained to a considerable pitch of civilisation, 
and that the new settlers freely intermarried among them. No 
traces of their civilisation, however, can be recognised today. 

5. The Ficus Rehgiosa ; four Buddhas are said to have visited 
the world, and a different variety of the fig tree is sacred to 
each of them. 

6. From Datu, relic ; Garbham, receptacle. These are probably 
more familiar under the Indian name of tope. 

7. The Eastern Coast of India, from Pt. Call mere to Orissa. 
Chola, Chera, and Pandya were the three ancient divisions 
of the Dravida country of South India. 

8. A Vihare is a temple of the Buddhist religion. 

9. Commonly known as the Tt i Pitakas, the Three Baskets of 
the Buddhist Canon, 

10 Mahawansa. 

11. This is Chryse, the Golden, of the Periplus ; the Swama 
Bhumi, the Land of Gold, of ancient Oriental writers. At 
one time it took its place among the greatest Empires of 
the East, and its close connection with Ceylon is well set 
out in the famous Kalyani inscription at Pegu, dated A. D. 

12. Mahawansa. 

13. Kalinga is the Northern Circars of today, extending from 
the Kistna to the Mahanudi. 

14. The date of the Sidat Sangarawa is a matter of some doubt, 
but it is usually considered to have been written early in the 
14th century. 

15. On the West Coast of India, and to the North of Malabar. 

16. The Portuguese formed the name Candia from the Sinha- 
lese Kanda, mountain, and applied it both to the principality 
and also to the Capital, the full name of which in official 
Sinhalese is Senkanda Saila Sriwardhana Pura. The name 
Kandy is unknown to the Sinhalese. 


The early history of Portugal and of the 
great maritime enterprises upon which she engaged 
under the impulse of the movement created by 
Prince Henry the Navigator, grandson of John of 
Gaunt, has been frequently told. In 1498 when Dom 
Manuel was on the throne, the first Portuguese 
vessels under Vasco da Gama reached Calicut; and 
seven years later, on the 25th of March 1505, Dom 
Francisco de Almeida set out from the Tagus with 
the pompous title of Viceroy of India. 

De Almeida was more than a pirate or con- 
queror, for he was also a statesman with a far-sighted 
and wise policy- The Eastern trade had filled 
the treasuries of Venice with almost lunitless wealth, 
and his desire was to direct this stream of gold 
into his Royal Master's coffers. In the Indian waters 
the carrying trade was in the hands of the hated 
Mohammedan races. The Soldan at Cairo was the 
undisputed master of the Red Sea, while the Turk, 
from Bussorah, controlled the Persian Gulf ; and it 
was over these two sheets of water that the Eastern 
merchandise found its way to the vessels which 
awaited it on the coasts of the Mediterranean. De 
Almeida's aim was to divert this traffic to Portugal 
by way of the newly discovered Cape route, but its 
fulfilment could only be brought about by first 
securing the undisputed control of the sea. It 
was not likely that the Mohammedans would 
surrender the supremacy which they had held so long 
without a fierce resistance, and both the Egyptian 
and the Turk had navies and artillery powerful 
enough to challenge the best that Europe was likely 

Lourenco de Almeida 23 

to send. De Almeida therefore devoted his energies 
to strengthening his navy and deprecated the 
erection of fortresses except \vhere they were 
absolutely necessary for the protection of the trade 
factories. He advocated the maintenance of friendly 
relations with the Indian Rajas, and the making of 
alliances with them, under which they would look 
after the factories and supply the merchandise which 
was required, while the Portuguese in return would 
guarantee the protection of their coasts against all 
attack by sea. 

Early in November 1505 the Viceroy's son 
Dom Lourenco was sent by his father with a fleet 
of nine vessels to attack the Moorish^ spice ships 
which were reported to be making for the Red Sea 
by way of the Maldives, when adverse v/inds drove 
him to the coast of Ceylon in the neighbourhood 
of Galle. Two generations before Sri Rahula of 
Totagamuwa, the great hierarch^ whose versatile 
genius has not been surpassed by that of any 
Sinhalese since his time, had sung the praises of 
Galle "where the shops were resplendent with gold 
and gems and pearls, as if the depths of every 
ocean had been searched to procure them." Its great 
bay afforded a welcome shelter to the Portuguese 
while they replenished their stock of water and fuel 
before setting sail for Kolon Tota, always spoken of 
by their writers as Colombo. The unbroken stretch 
of coconut palms which covered the shore with a 
garment of exquisite verdure, the soft scented breeze 
of the cool morning, the green hills crowned with 
their snowy white dagobas flashing like silver in the 
blazing sun, above all the fresh luxuriance of the 
vegetation, made a picture well calculated to fill with 
delight the hearts of men who had recently faced 
the buffettings of the stormy ocean. At length on 
the 15th of November the fleet anchored off 

24 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Mud-walled houses with thatched roofs slanting 
low towards the sea as a protection against the 
fierce attack of the South-west Monsoon, formed the 
main street of the town. High above them arose 
the white waUs of two mosques, standing out clear 
from the background of green. The light canoes of the 
hardy fishermen were drawn up on the stretch of 
sand, and near them a shouting crowd of men and 
boys dragged in the great net over which the 
seagulls hovered in their circling flight. West of 
the town lay the stretch of marshy ground which 
connected the lagoon with the sea, and beyond, 
sweeping to the North, rose a bleak headland which 
formed the extremity of the natural rampart known 
as the Galbokka. The harbour was crowded with 
shipping; some of the vessels were taking aboard 
the elephants^ and cinnamon for which the island 
has been always famous throughout the East ; others 
were being laden with copra and fresh coconuts; 
here logs of satinwood and ebony were being hauled 
to the shore for transport to the great mart of 
Ormuz in the Persian Gulf ; while elsewhere vessels 
from the further Eastern waters were landing their 
goods for transhipment to the Red Sea. The trade 
of the port was in the hands of a colony of Moors, 
of Indian origin. Their ancestors had settled in the 
country some five hundred years before, and had 
been received with the liberality which ever charact- 
erised the conduct of the Sinhalese towards strangers 
who did not prove themselves unworthy of it. 

The arrival of this flotilla of white strangers 
was immediately reported to the Court, whither the 
reputation of the Portuguese had preceded them ; a 
Council of State was summoned, and it was decided 
to receive them amicably. A message was sent 
demanding of the strangers what they desired at the 
King's port. Dom Lourenco sent back a reply that 
he was a merchant, a servant of the King of 
Portugal, who had been driven out of his course to 

The Portuguese at Kotte 25 

Ceylon, and that he would be glad to open a friendly 
trade. The King directed that the Portuguese should 
send a representative to discuss matters with him, 
and an officer named Fernao Cotrim set out with a 
Sinhalese escort. For three days he travelled 
crossing hills, and fording numerous streams ; for the 
Sinhalese had no desire to let the foreigners learn 
that their Capital was but two hours' journey from 
the sea. "As the Parangi' went to Kotte" is the 
Sinhalese proverb which still preserves the memory 
of this ruse. 

Cotrim was accorded an interview with the 
King's Ministers, to whom he explained the errand 
on which the Portuguese were come. He asserted 
that their only desire was for peaceful trade. If 
the King wished for this, he should send an yearly 
present as a token of friendship to the King of 
Portugal, who would send him presents in return. 
Moreover, the Portuguese would undertake to protect 
his coasts against all enemies. 

The offer found acceptance with the King and 
his Council, and they consented to the terms pro- 
posed. Cotrim returned to the fleet and reported the 
success of his mission. De Almeida was highly 
gratified ; in celebration of it he ordered a salvo of 
artillery to be fired, to the great terror of the 
peaceful inhabitants of the port, who regarded it as 
a hostile demonstration- 

Another officer, Payo de Sousa, was now sent 
with full powers to conclude a treaty with the King. 
He was conveyed to the Capital, Jayawardhana Kotte, 
on elephant back with the same precautions as were 
observed in the case of his predecessor. This 
royal city was built on a triangular tract of elevated 
land, the apex of which lay to the North. On its 
two sides it was flanked by the waters of the 
Diyawanna Oya and its tributary streams, which 
approached each other so closely at the base that 


26 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the narrow neck joining the fort to the Pita Kotte 
or town was a bare fifty paces across. Strong walls 
of dressed cabook or laterite taken from the quarries 
in the neighbourhood added to the security afforded 
by the water, which teemed with crocodiles. At 
the base was the Periya Kotte or Main Guard, 
where additional stone-works and a broad moat 
guarded the entrance to the citadel from the land 
side. Within lay the Palace, side by side, as was 
always the case, with the three-storied Dalada Mali- 
gawa, the Temple of the precious Tooth Relic. A 
few of the great dignitaries connected with the 
Court also had their residences within the walls. 
Half a mile to the South of the Periya Kotte 
a considerable moat crossed by a bridge protected 
the town. 

Sri Rahula in his Selalihini Sandesaya has left 
us a charming description of the Capital as he saw 
it. To him it was a city of the gods, with stately 
mansions and tinkling bells, filled with the odours 
of sandal wood and champac-flowers, where every 
woman was lovely, and every heart was joyous ; but 
it does not appear rash to assert that at the 
beginning of the sixteenth century there was not in 
the Island one town which surpassed in its extent 
and population a large English village of today. 
Towns are the creation of trade or of manufacture 
on a large scale, but the Sinhalese were never a 
commercial race, and their manufactures did not rise 
above the level of handicrafts. Seaports like Colombo, 
Beruwala, and Weligama, owed their importance to 
the presence of the foreign trading element, chiefly 
Mohammedan; the Sinhalese himself lived at a 
distance on the land which he cultivated. In this 
fortunate climate the social scheme was one which 
was eminently calculated to produce contentment 
in the majority; everyone had a sufficiency of land 
for the maintenance of himself and his family, and 
there was always an abundance of forest available 

The Sinhalese 27 

for the occupation of the more enterprising. Of 
money there was but very Httle, and the luxuries 
which money could procure were few. 

The house of a Sinhalese was little more than 
a temporary protection against the inclemency of 
the weather. The houses of the greatest contained 
no chair or table; the furniture at best would 
consist of a few stools. Till he entered the actual 
precincts of the palace, the town as it revealed it- 
self to the eyes of de Sousa must have seemed 
very dingy. One or two of the houses of the great 
noblemen which he passed would have two storeys, 
with narrow balconies and painted walls. The strict 
sumptuary laws which prevailed there no less than 
in South India limited the rest of the small populace 
to thatched roofs and unplastered walls. All magni- 
ficence was centred round the King, and the religion 
of which he was the patron, and often the servant. 
The magnificence, however, was that of artistic beauty 
and not of size. Dwelling houses were always small, 
and individual rooms cramped and suffocating. The 
practice of eating and drinking in crowds as a means 
of social enjoyment was unknown, hence there was 
no need for stately halls where such crowds could 
meet, for temporary structures could always be erected 
with little trouble to house the gathering which as- 
sembled at a marriage. 

The courteous but frankly inquisitive crowd 
which gathered to watch de Sousa's progress through 
the town would contain as many women as men, 
for the Mohammedan habit of seclusion was unknown 
in the country, except in the case of noble women 
who considered it a disgrace to be seen by any man 
but their husbands. Both sexes wore their hair long 
and tied in a knot behind, and the ear-lobes of both 
were bored and weighed down with heavy pieces of 
jewellery. A cloth wrapped round the waist, whether 
the coarse product of their own country or the fine 
muslin of the Indian looms, formed the main portion 

28 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

of the costume of the males. The women wore 
little more, though all of them were covered with 
jewellery which varied in quality according to the 
caste. The little children were, as now, innocent of 
clothing, save perhaps a silver chain. Most of the 
girls would have flowers entwined in their black 
hair, and their faces would be daubed with a paste 
made of the sweet-smelling sandalwood finely ground ; 
all of them would be chewing the one stimulant of 
the Sinhalese, the betel leaf and slice of arecanut. 

The golden gem-set spire which surmounted 
the Palace attracted the eye as the ambassador was 
led through the narrow gates of the Sumangala Pra- 
sada, the massive door-frames of which were of 
elaborately carved stone. From the palace eaves 
hung a row of flags of all colours, the tiny bells 
which were attached to them tinkling with every 
breeze. According to Sinhalese custom the audience 
took place by candle-light. De Sousa was ushered 
into a large hall hung with the fabrics of Persia, 
its sombre gloom relieved by lamps and torches 
on silver stands. The place of audience was filled 
with the crouching figures of numerous courtiers, 
and on either side were rows of warriors, their 
naked swords by their sides and shields on their 

At one end of the hall rose a massive canopy 
of stone shaped like the head of the fabulous 
Makara,^ and surmounted by the figures of the deities 
who preside over the four quarters of the universe. 
Above it was raised the white chatra of dominion, 
which overshadowed the "Lion Throne" of the Race 
of the Lion. On this massive seat of ivory, which 
rose on six stages and was covered with cloth of 
gold, was seated Dharma Parakrama Bahu, Overlord 
of Ceylon. A white tunic covered the upper portion 
of his body, while his head dress, which was studded 
with gems and large pearls, fell in two points over 
his shoulders. Round his waist was wrapped a cloth 

Cinnamon 29 

picked] out with silver and reaching to his feet, 
which were protected by sandals studded with rubies. 
A profusion of rubies, diamonds and emeralds covered 
his fingers and weighed down his ears till they 
reached nearly to his shoulders. 

Advancing between the rows of armed men, 
de Sousa halted at a respectful distance and made a 
profound obeisance. After a grandiloquent harangue 
on the greatness of the King of Portugal and of 
his people, he explained the object of his mission. 
In reply the King after consulting with his Ministers 
promised to allow the Portuguese four hundred 
bahars^ of cinnamon a year, on condition of their 
protecting his coasts from all external attack. A 
Sannas to this effect written in Sinhalese on a sheet 
of gold was presented to the ambassador, who was 
then given permission to return to his vessel. 

"It was on account of the cinnamon that the 
Romans and other nations came to Ceilao; I fear, 
Senhor, that those who have obtained the taste for 
it will come behind us on its scent." So wrote the 
veteran Portuguese warrior Miguel Ferreyra to the 
Viceroy at Goa as he left Ceylon in 1540. Nature 
laid a heavy curse on the Island when she decreed 
that this delicious spice was not to grow in any 
other country of the world. The shrub— for it can 
hardly be dignified by the name of tree— the inner 
bark of which supplies the coveted article, was not 
the object of cultivation, but grew wild in abundance 
in the forests. The trade in cinnamon was always 
a Royal monopoly, and the preparation and collection 
of the bark was a service which had to be rendered 
by the caste of Chalias, who were confined, under 
circumstances of great hardship, to some of the royal 
villages along the southern and western coasts. A 
definite amount had to be provided by the caste every 
year, and an elaborate system had been devised for the 
control of the men and the supervision of their 
work. The bark was dried in the form of long 

30 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

quills and tied in bundles of a fixed weight, which 
were then wrapped in mats and conveyed to the 
King's Bangasalai or Store at Colombo. This store 
was in charge of a high official under whose direc- 
tions the article was sold by weight to the foreign 
merchants. It was from this trade that the King 
obtained the largest portion of his revenue. The 
cinnamon, stored in the holds of vessels along with 
loose pepper to preserve it from deterioration, was 
conveyed to Ormuz or the Red Sea on its way to 

Next in importance from the point of view of 
the Royal Revenues was the trade in elephants. 
These animals had always been, as they are to-day, 
the property of the Crown, and roamed about in 
great herds over the less thickly populated districts 
of the Island. The Ceylon elephant surpassed all 
others in sagacity, and the Portuguese, speaking from 
what they witnessed in after years at the dockyard 
at Goa, used to declare that its superiority was 
acknowledged by the animals brought from other 
parts of the world, which would make obeisance to 
it. The Sinhalese themselves distinguished ten classes 
among their elephants, just as they recognise a royal 
caste among cattle and a low caste among the 

The usual method of capturing elephants was 
by driving the herd within a great stockade: but 
individuals would sometimes be taken by means of 
trained decoys. The chief hunt was maintained 
where Ptolemy had indicated the existence of their 
feeding grounds, namely, towards the eastern extre- 
mity of the Ruhuna. Other hunts were held not 
far from the capital itself, while large numbers were 
obtained from the dry regions in the North and 
centre of the island; but these were considered 
inferior to the others both in intelligence and stamina. 
Several villages were attached to the hunt, and the 
services which their inhabitants had to render were 

Elephants 31 

entirely connected with the capture, taming, and 
maintenance of the beasts. Certain villages also in 
the North Central districts, where herds of deer 
abounded, furnished the stout ropes made of deer 
hides which were used for securing the newly- 
captured animals. The traffic in elephants was carried 
on almost exclusively with India. In the seventeenth 
century at the Court of the Great Mogul, a tusker 
from Ceylon was a means of conveyance reserved 
for the Royal Princes. Whether it was for purposes 
of dignified ceremonial, as a means of transport, or 
for purposes of war, the elephant stood unmatched 
at this period of the history of the East, and the 
Gajanayaka Nilame — the Chief of the Elephants— 
who was at the head of the establishment, ranked 
among the highest Household Officers of the 
Sinhalese Court. 

A short time after de Sousa's return the 
promised cinnamon arrived with two little elephants, 
and a great quantity of fruit and other provisions 
for the use of the fleet. It had been customary for 
the fleets which were sent from Portugal on voyages 
of discovery to take with them stone pillars called 
padroes to be set up in the newly discovered 
countries. These padroes were surmounted with 
a cross, below which the Royal Arms were 
sculptured. Dom Lourenco now asked for and 
received permission from the Sinhalese King to 
engrave such a cross and the Portuguese arms on a 
boulder overlooking the Bay; and this memorial of 
the first arrival of the Portuguese may still be seen, 
though bearing the inexplicable date 1501. In addition 
to this a small hut was erected on the hill behind 
the boulder, and dedicated as a chapel to Sao 
Lourenco, de Almeida's patron Saint, after whom 
also the promontory was named. This done the 
fleet sailed away, leaving a few Portuguese behind 
in charge of a temporary Factory where they could 
collect the produce of the Island for export to Europe, 

32 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

So pleased was Dom Manuel with this new 
discovery, that he ordered a commemorative paint- 
ing to be prepared, while at the Papal Court a 
solemn procession was conducted in honour of the 
event on St. Thomas's Day, 21st December 1507. It 
should be remembered that at this time the Portu- 
guese did not possess a foot of territory in Asia, 
and that the Viceroy himself had to rely on the 
hospitality of the Raja of Cochin. Dom Manuel 
therefore suggested that Ceylon was, by virtue of its 
central position and excellent climate, the most 
suitable residence for his representative in Asia. 
The time, however, was unfavourable for the develop- 
ment of this scheme, as the Viceroy's energies were 
concentrated on repelling an Egyptian fleet which 
had defeated and killed his son Dom Lourenco. The 
Factory at Colombo was neglected, while the attempt 
of the Portuguese to monopolise the trade of the 
port only served to rouse the resentment of both 
the Sinhalese and the Moors. In a few years the 
men who had been left in charge were recalled, 
while the demand for cinnamon was met by trade 
or piracy. 

But Dharma Parakrama Bahu's reign was not 
a peaceful one. There were dissensions among his 
own subjects, and the corsairs from the mainland 
from time to time harried his coasts, till they were 
attacked and defeated by the Prince Sakala Kala 
Wallabha. A rebellion in the Uda Rata, where a 
certain Wikrama Bahu was in power, occurred not 
long after, but after two short campaigns the district 
was reduced to submission by the Prince. 

In the meantime Affonco de Alboquerque had 
succeded de Almeida, and his occupation of the 
three great ports of Goa, Malacca, and Ormuz marked 
the commencement of a new policy of territorial 
aggrandisement. The appetite of Portugal was 
whetted by a fuller realisation of the immensity of 
the wealth which could be obtained from the Eastern 

Portuguese Policy 33 

trade, and she was determined to secure this for 
herself. It was not, however, possible for her to 
hope for success by peaceful rivalry, for the Eastern 
Princes fully appreciated the fair dealing of their 
long-standing customers. The Mohammedan trade 
had therefore to be destroyed by force, and powerful 
forts established in order to sweep the Moors from 
the Eastern seas. 

The inhuman barbarities which accompanied 
the execution of this policy, the utter callousness to 
human pain and suffering— a callousness which knew 
no distinction between man, woman and child— were 
discussed with horror from the Cape to Nagasaki. 
Alboquerque himself was fortunately too busy in 
India to turn his attention to Ceylon, but in 1518 
his successor, the Governor Lopo Soarez de Alber- 
garia, arrived at Colombo with a large fleet, and 
applied for permission to erect a fort ; he urged on 
the King the advantages he would derive from the 
trade which was sure to follow, and the importance 
of driving the Moors out of the country, expressing 
at the same time his firm determination never to 
cease in his hostility towards them. 

The Moors watched the new development with 
anxiety, and a deputation of their leading merchants 
waited on the King, and begged him earnestly not 
to be led astray by the flattery of the Governor ; 
for their experience in India had warned them not 
to trust the Portuguese, f whose sole object was to 
aggrandise themselves at the expense of the countries 
which they visited. The Sinhalese, they asserted, would 
find too late that the sovereign power had been 
wrested from them. They emphasized their own 
good services to the country of their adoption ; they 
had never interfered with its political affairs, while 
their trade had brought wealth and prosperity in its 
train ; they had not attempted to obtrude their religion 
oa anyone, but they warned the King that the 


34 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

arrival of the Portuguese would be speedily followed 
by the downfall of the national religion. Their vehe- 
ment expostulations stirred up the populace to a 
condition of frenzied excitement. A few cannon 
which the Moors had presented to the King were 
dragged to the shore, and an ill-directed fire was 
opened on the ships, whose reply however soon 
drove away the angry rabble. The next morning the 
Portuguese landed and erected a stockade guarded 
by a moat across the narrow isthmus. Protected by 
these they began the erection of a small fort. 

The King, however, was averse to hostilities ; 
and a conciliatory message from him led to the 
resumption of negotiations, which terminated in his 
issuing his Sannas promising the Portuguese 400 
bahars of cinnamon and twenty rings set with rubies 
and ten elephants every year, on the same condition 
as formerly, namely, their undertaking the defence 
of his coasts. The fort, named Nossa Senhora das 
Virtudes, was soon completed, whereupon the fleet 
sailed away leaving a garrison behind under the 
command of Dom Joao de Silveira. 

On the north-west coast of Ceylon, there are 
in the bed of the ocean a cluster of elevated patches 
on which the eyes of all Asia have from the 
earliest times been fixed with admiring envy. For 
these patches are the banks where, long before the 
days of Wijayo, the loveliest pearls in the world 
used to be found. The peculiar lustre of the pearls 
of Ceylon is popularly ascribed, as is that of her 
gems, to the effect of her sun; however that may 
be, the fact remains that the pearls which are 
obtained in such quantities from the same species of 
mollusc in the Persian Gulf, can invariably be detected 
by their inferior lustre. 

The Pearl Banks have always been royal property ; 
but the divers employed in the collection of the 
oysters were usually obtained from South India, and 
were not Sinhalese. The revenue yielded by the 

The Pearl Fishery 35 

Fishery was precarious in its nature, for the millions 
of oysters, whose growth was carefully watched till 
they attained maturity, might any day disappear into 
the depths of the surrounding ocean. The hundreds 
of boats which were engaged in the fishing were 
furnished not by the King but by private persons, 
and each day's catch was divided according to certain 
recognised rules between the King, the boat owners 
and the divers. 

Before the fishery commenced incantations were 
performed in order to render the terrible sharks and 
other monsters of the deep harmless to the divers, 
and then the men plunged into the water. They 
employed a heavy stone to assist them in their 
descent from the ship's side. On reaching the bottom 
they threw themselves on their faces and collected 
what oysters they could into a net bag secured at 
their waists. When their ear-drums began to ring 
they gave a signal by a cord which was attached 
to their bodies, and were hauled up by their com- 
panions in the boat. The Fishery began in the middle 
of March and ceased with the setting in of the 
south-west Monsoon towards the end of April, a 
great Fair, which attracted merchants from all parts 
of Asia, being maintained on the barren shore so 
long as the Fishery lasted. The oysters of each group 
of owners were piled up within an enclosure of 
thorns on the beach, and there they remained till 
their fleshy contents had rotted away, when the 
shells were carefully examined for the pearls. These, 
when collected, were sorted by being sifted through 
a series of nine brass sieves. The finest would be 
immediately secured for the Indian Courts, and the 
inferior kinds as well as the seed pearls transported 
to Europe to be used in the aljofar work of the 
Moors, which bedecked the Court dresses of the Iberian 

By order of the Governor a report was pre- 
pared of the possibilities of this Fishery and of the 

36 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

trade prospects of the country in general, for trans- 
mission to Lisbon. A careful examination of the coast 
was also begun. At the same time the indefatigable 
priests began the work of conversion among the 
Sinhalese ; for under the Papal Bull of Alexander 
VI. issued in 1494, one of the conditions of the 
sovereignty of new discoveries being vested in 
Portugal was the propagation of the Catholic Religion. 

King Dharma Parakrama Bahu died not long 
after, and the vacant throne was offered to Sakala 
Kala Wallabha ; but with rare self-denial he rejected 
the proffered honour in favour of his half-brother 
Wijaya Bahu, who was accordingly proclaimed King. 
Early in 1520 Lopo de Brito reached Colombo with 
400 men in succession to de Silveira. His arrival 
was not a day too soon, for the clay walls had 
already begun to crumble under the torrential rains 
of Ceylon. Pearl shells were fetched to provide the 
necessary lime, and the rebuilding of the walls and 
barracks taken in hand. But so unpopular had the 
Portuguese become, that the inhabitants first refused 
to furnish them with provisions, and finally began 
to cut off all soldiers found outside the walls. The 
garrison retaliated by making an attack on the town, 
and succeeded in setting fire to a portion of it, but 
was driven back with a loss of thirty men. The 
tension increased, for Wijaya Bahu's sympathies were 
with his subjects, and the alternate flattery and 
threats which de Brito employed towards him only 
served to delay for a short time the appearance 
of a Sinhalese army before the fort. 

The two armies which were now face to face 
were in strange contrast to one another. Behind the 
protecting walls stood a highly efficient body of 
professional soldiers, who would have lost little by 
comparison with the finest troops in Europe. Their 
numbers were scanty, but they were all more or less 

The Sinhalese Army 37 

veterans, wearing defensive armour, and a fair pro- 
portion of them supplied with firearms. To them 
the enemy must have seemed merely a tumultuous 
rabble, without discipline and only formidable by 
reason of the war- elephants which could be seen in 
their ranks. 

Under the system of land tenure which pre- 
vailed in the Island from the earliest times, all 
occupied land was divided into Pangu or allotments, 
which varied in size and importance. To each 
allotment was assigned a portion of high land which 
could be planted with trees, a mud land capable of 
being sown with rice, and an extent of waste land 
which would be cleared in patches, according to the 
exigencies of the seasons, for less permanent cultiva- 
tion. On the high land would be the cottage where 
the family of the tenant lived, and round it would 
be planted the coconut, jak and other trees which 
were so important an item in the domestic economy 
of the villager. Each allotment was liable to contri- 
bute towards the maintenance of the common wealth 
whether by personal service, called Rajakariya, on 
the part of the tenant, or by payment in money or 
in kind. Some pangu would have to supply soldiers 
with their weapons, consisting in the main of bows 
and arrows, pikes and other similar instruments of 
warfare. The professional soldier was unknown, 
unless it were among the members of the A ttapattu, 
who formed the Royal Guard ; or the trained Indian 
mercenaries who were maintained at Court. 

When the summons to arms arrived, the cultivator 
would exchange his plough for the bow, provide 
himself with a scanty stock of rice and a few dried 
palm leaves which were to serve him as a tent, and 
join the rest of his fellows at the appointed rendez- 
vous. Over each group of twenty or thirty men 
there would be an Arachchi armed with his lion- 
headed sword of native steel, short and small handled. 

38 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

as befitted a slightly built race. To act as Arachchi 
would be the service which his Panguwa carried with 
it. The superior officers were known as Mudaliyars. 

Each caste among the soldiery would be grouped 
separately, and no one of a low caste could take 
command over a man of a higher caste. Other 
pangu would supply the wood-cutters, who formed 
an important element in an army whose fighting was 
mainly guerilla. They would bring their own axes. 
Others would attend to haul the trees they felled, 
and to convey the baggage and ammunition. The 
tom-tom beaters held always a prominent place, for 
their noisy drums not only inspirited the men on 
the march and in the attack, but also conveyed 
messages over great distances. The smiths sent their 
contingent to furnish and repair the necessary weapons ; 
others again brought the charcoal which was required 
at their forges ; while a few pangu would supply a 
man with a horn or the raucous conch-shell. In the 
nature of things those whose duties were connected 
with the care and manoeuvring of elephants had a 
better and more systematic training, but as a rule 
it was left to each man to render himself efficient 
in the line of service to which his allotment was 

This army was meant for purposes of defence. 
Each individual who went to make it up was liable 
to serve only for a certain number of days, 
and there were limitations to the distance which he 
was expected to travel from his home'. Carefully 
prepared registers existed of the various holdings, 
and the number of men who could be called up at 
any time was known. When a man died, a member 
of his family would step into his place and 
continue in the enjoyment of the panguwa on the 
same terms. The fact that there were several able- 
bodied members in a family made no difference, for 
it was the panguwa and not the individual which 

A Siege 39 

was liable, and so long as the service was rendered 
the tenancy could not be altered. 

Anything in the nature of a uniform was 
unknown. In the tropics dress, except in its most 
meagre form, is not a necessity. Each man dressed 
himself as he liked, which made little practical 
difference, for the Sinhalese fought bare-bodied, with 
merely a strip of cloth tied round his waist and 
tucked up behind. Each district had its distinctive 
flag, round which the men of the district were 

Probably there was not one amongst those who 
were gathered before the little fort who had 
previously attacked a walled position. Unused as they 
were to this kind of warfare, the Sinhalese progressed 
but slowly ; nevertheless step by step they drew 
nearer. Earthworks were thrown up, and on these 
were mounted several hundered machines, some of 
them throwing wooden darts ten palms in length. 
From others fire-bombs were hurled on the thatched 
roofs within the fort, while two bastions constructed 
of the trunks of the coconut palms which grew 
in abundance in the neighbourhood, rendered the 
task of supplying the fort with water, which had 
to be fetched from outside the walls, one of great 
peril. An urgent demand for help was sent to the 
Governor at Cochin, but he was powerless to 
assist; he advised de Brito to pacify the enemy if 
he could do so without discredit to his sovereign, 
and to wait till sufficient forces should be available 
for an attempt to obtain vengeance. For the rest 
he promised that as soon as the weather changed, 
the first ship which left the harbour should sail to 
his assistance. 

For six months more the little garrison held out, 
though famine was hovering over it and everything 
was doled out with the most rigid care. At last on 
the 4th of October a galley reached Colombo, to the 

40 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

great delight of the besieged, and a joint attack by 
sea and land drove the Sinhalese back into the town. 
They soon returned supported by twenty five of the 
war elephants, and made a determined attempt to 
carry the place by storm ; but the firearms of the 
Portuguese rendered the task a hopeless one, and 
at last Wijaya Bahu withdrew from the field, where- 
upon the Portuguese entered the town and set it on 
fire. Both sides however were anxious for the ces- 
sation of hostilities. Peace was accordingly concluded, 
and friendly relations re-established. 


1. This term was applied indifferently by the Portuguese to 
all who professed the Mohammedan Faith. 

2. He held -'the office of Sanga Raja, or King of the Priest- 
hood, with the honorific name of Wijaya Bahu. His poem, 
the Paravi 'Sandesaya, from which this quotation is taken, 
was written about 1450 A. D. 

3. In 1500 the Portuguese had found a ship of Cochin 
conveying seven elephants from Ceylon. This vessel wai 
of 600 tons. The Sao Gabriel, in which Vasco da Gama 
reached India, did not exceed 120 tons. 

4. Parangi is the Sinhalese form of Feringhee. 

5. A fabulous sea-monster with the tail of a fieh. 
The chatra is the parasol of dominion 

6. The Bahar was approximately 176.25 kilo. 

7. Cf. the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, or county militia. 


In the meantime a family quarrel had broken 
out with regard to the succession to the throne. 
Marriage among the Sinhalese is purely a social 
Contract, without any of that glamour of religion 
with which Christianity has after many centuries 
succeeded in surrounding it in some countries of 
Europe. The position of the Sinhalese wife in the 
early part of the sixteenth century was in some ways 
curiously in advance of the age. Marriage did not 
reduce her to the condition of her husband's chattel ; 
she retained her right of private property, and enjoyed 
large privileges in regard to divorce. The circle of 
choice, however, was limited not only to the caste, 
but even to the special class of the caste to which 
either party to the marriage belonged. It was a 
near relative and not the priest who performed the 
actual marriage ceremony by tying together the little 
fingers of the man and woman with cotton and 
pouring over them the sacred water; and it was 
the father who followed this up by an admonition 
on the duties and responsibilities of matrimony. 

The fact of marriage could operate in one of 
two ways. In the first case the husband was 
absorbed into the family of his wife. The position of 
such a husband has always been the object of a 
certain degree of ridicule among the Sinhalese; as 
their proverb puts it, he takes with him only his 
mat to sleep on and a torch to guide him on his 
way back when he is turned out by his wife. In 
the second case the wife separated herself from her 
family and divested herself of all right of inheritance 

Polyandry 43 

of the ancestral property, being absorbed into the 
family of her husband. 

Polygamy was not practised, though, where an 
important family was in danger of extinction, a 
husband was permitted to take a second wife with 
the consent of the first. A husband who detected 
his wife in the act of adultery was entitled to put 
her to death; but side by side with this severe 
regulation for the preservation of what was dearer 
to him than life, untainted blood, there obtained the 
peculiar custom of polyandry. This custom, which 
prevailed among the Spartans, and was common in 
Britain in the time of Julius Caesar, is still found 
in various parts of India, among races so diverse as 
the Rajputs and the Nairs. Under it a wife marrying 
into her husband's family, becomes the wife of 
all her husband's brothers in common, if they so 
desire. The practice probably originated in the 
exigencies of a system of land tenure under which the 
husband was obliged to be absent from his home 
for long periods, while his family was left unpro- 
vided for, as well as in a natural desire to maintain 
the ancestral property undiminished. That the 
Sinhalese of this time acquiesced in polyandry and 
rejected polygamy, cannot but be regarded as a signi- 
ficant indication of their standard of sexual morality. 

Wijaya Bahu when a young man had lived 
with one of his brothers as the associated husband 
of one wife, and three sons represented their com- 
mon family. It now began to be whispered about 
that he proposed to override their just claims to the 
Throne in favour of Deva Raja Sinha, a son by a 
previous marriage of his second Queen, one of the 
Kirawella Princesses. Fearing that their lives were 
in danger the three brothers fled from Court, and 
the youngest of them, Mayadunna, making his way 
to Senkadagala, soon returned with an army and 

44^ Ceylon and the Portuguese 

threatened Kotte, whereupon Wijaya Bahu was com- 
pelled to sue for peace. 

The Princes now advanced to the Capital, and 
stationing the army outside the palace, entered it 
unattended and without suspicion. As they passed 
within the walls they were met by the young Deva 
Raja Sinha, then but seven years of age, who innocently 
informed Mayadunna that a body of soldiery was 
lying in wait to kill them. Turning on his heel and 
hurrying his two brothers in front of him, Mayadunna 
dashed through the palace gates and escaped to the 
army. Their line of action was quickly resolved upon. 
The King's army was known to be sympathetic, 
and soon the palace was being besieged by a fierce 
mob, assisted by the soldiers of the two armies. 
The gates were battered down and the crowd rushed 
to the Antahpuraya or Harem, to plunder the great 
treasures of the King. The coffers and chests were 
burst open; the magnificent gems and hoards of 
gold coin, the priceless silks and foreign stuffs, and 
the whole contents ot the royal wardrobe, were tossed 
about from hand to hand. The King himself was 
left for the present unmolested, and allowed to escape 
to the upper storey where, with two of his wives, 
he barred himself in ; at the same time strict 
orders were issued by beat of drum that no violence 
was to be offered to any citizen. 

Night came on. A Council was summoned 
and formally decided that Wijaya Bahu should be 
put to death; but no Sinhalese would incur the 
odium of shedding royal blood. At last a stranger 
was found, and at his hand the King met his death 
within his own chamber. The next morning the 
Council assembled again and selected Bhuwaneka 
Bahu, the eldest of the three brothers, as a fitting 
person to succeed to the vacant Lion Throne, the 
nomination being received with acclamation by the 
expectant people, to whom in accordance with 

Astrology 45 

ancient custom, the selection was submitted for 

Attended by the Great Officers of the House- 
hold, the King was ceremonially bathed and attired 
in the sixty-four regal ornaments, after which he 
was conveyed on the richly caparisoned State 
elephant to the Dalada Maligawa, where the religious 
rites were performed by the Chief Priests. Last of 
all he was escorted to the stone Mandape or plat- 
form, and presented to the people who prostrated 
themselves in obeisance before him three times, 
amidst the roll of drums and the chanting of 
hymns of praise. His formal investiture with the 
Sword of State was delayed for a short time while 
Mayadunna was suppressing all resistance, striking 
terror into the hearts of the disaffected by bestowing 
the villages of the rebellious nobles upon the 
low-caste cutters of grass for the elephants.^ 

No event, however, even the most trivial in 
the life of the Oriental, could take place till the 
fortunate hour had been ascertained. A King starting 
on a campaign would turn to his astrologer with 
the same anxiety with which a Roman general 
consulted the entrails of his birds. The pettiest and 
the most important doings, the beginning to build a 
house, the ploughing of a field, or the despatch of 
a proposal of marriage, were all controlled by the 
decision of the Nekatiya, the Learned in the Planets. 
It is a curious illustration of the interdependence 
created by the system of caste, that the actions of 
the highest were thus placed under the control of 
the members of one of the lowest castes. For the 
Nekatiya was of the caste of tomtom beaters. How 
the complicated system of mathematics which astro- 
logy involved came to be the special field of this 
caste, is a mystery; there is, however, a tradition 
that the knowledge was communicated to them by 

46 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

a Buddhist priest, who desired to humiliate an 
arrogant Brahmin. 

An auspicious hour was therefore selected, and 
the new King was escorted to the gaily decorated 
Mandape together with the five Insignia of Royalty ,2 
and placed under the Chatra of Dominion on a seat 
prepared in accordance with all the ancient rites. 
A beautiful virgin of the Royal Caste then poured 
on his head the sacred water of the Ganges, brought 
from the remotest point accessible to man, where it 
emerges from the everlasting snows, out of a milk- 
white chank with its whorls twisted to the left,' 
which she held aloft in both her hands. The House- 
hold Brahmin and a Goigama Minister* followed in 
turn, the former employing a chank fashioned in 
silver, and the latter one of gold. Each of the three 
concluded by exhorting the King to rule in accord- 
ance with the Ten Royal Virtues,^ and to protect 
the caste he or she represented, vowing allegiance 
and fealty to him, but at the same time imprecat- 
ing a curse on him should he be found wanting. 
The Crown was then placed upon the King's head, 
and the Sword of State fastened to his side by a 
nobleman of the Royal caste. When this was accom- 
plished the King drew the sword from its scabbard 
and plunged it into a vase full of powdered sandal 
wood ; after which, carrying it unsheathed in his 
hand, he was conveyed in procession round the 
Capital, mounted on his State Elephant, while the 
rejoicing populace shouted "Live, live. Great King." 

By the advice of his Minister Illangakon the 
King created two Principalities for his brothers, 
Rayigam Korale being allotted by Sannas to the 
elder. Para Raja Sinha ; and Sitawaka, from the neigh- 
bourhood of Kotte as far as the mountain ranges of 
the Uda Rata, to the gallant Mayadunna. 

In the meanwhile de Brito had completed his 
fortress, but upon the accession of King Dom Joao III 

The Fori abandoned 47 

to the throne of Portugal in 1521, it was decided 
that the expense of maintaining an outpost in Ceylon 
was not sufficiently compensated for by the revenue 
derived therefrom. The cruelty and quarrelsome 
disposition of the Portuguese officers also had 
destroyed their popularity among the Sinhalese ; and 
when in 1524 the aged Dom Vasco da Gama was 
persuaded once more to return to India as Viceroy, 
he carried with him instructions to dismantle the 
fort at Colombo. This was accordingly done, the 
artillery and garrison being removed ; whilst such 
commercial interests as the Portuguese still retained 
in Ceylon were left in the care of a certain Nuno 
Freyre de Andrade, who remained in the Island as 
Factor, under the protection of the Sinhalese King. 
The abandonment of the fort which they had 
established at Calicut soon followed, in consequence 
of the hostility of the pov/erful Hindoo ruler of that 
place, who bore the proud title of Samorin, the Lord 
of the Ocean. His subjects included the fanatical 
Moplahs who were descended from the Arab settlers 
on the Malabar Coast, and who were the wealthiest 
inhabitants of the sea-board. The bulk of the sea 
borne trade with the Red Sea was in their hands, 
and consequently the bitterest hatred existed between 
them and the Portuguese. Their swift vessels now 
appeared in large numbers off the coasts of Ceylon, 
and the Portuguese had to flee for shelter to the 
Court of Bhuwaneka Bahu. His own relations with 
his brothers had soon become so strained that 
hostilities had broken out between them, and he begged 
the Portuguese to rebuild their abandoned fort, 
that they might be the better able to render him 
the protection which they had promised. Mayadunna 
on this side applied to the Samorin, who in 1528 sent 
him a small armament commanded by the two 
distinguished Moors, Pachchi Marikar and Cunhale 
Marikar of Calicut, and a third named Ali Ibrahim. The 
united forces laid siege to Kotte, but on the Porta- 

4S Ceylon and the Portuguese 

guese sending assistance to Bhuwaneka Bahu from 
Goa, the Moors withdrew. This however did not 
bring hostiUties to an end. Para Raja Sinha, or 
Rayigam Bandara as he was called after his princi- 
pality, joined Mayadunna, whose successful conduct 
of a campaign against the Kanda Uda Rata added 
to their strength. Matters dragged on without any 
definite result till in October, 1536, Ali Ibrahim 
arrived at Colombo with a fresh contingent of four 
thousand men and Kotte was once again laid under 
siege ; but as before the news that Portuguese assist- 
ance was on its way compelled the King's enemies 
to retire. 

The following year a great armament of fifty- 
one vessels carrying eight thousand men and four 
hundred pieces of artillery was despatched by the 
Samorin to Ceylon, and Martin Affonco de Sousa, 
Captain Major of the Seas, hurried in pursuit. He 
overtook the fleet near Rameswaram, the sacred 
island which lies between Ceylon and the mainland. 
There was fought on the 29th of February, 1538, one of 
the fiercest battles in the history of the Portuguese 
in India, the forces of the Samorin being overwhelmingly 

De Sousa now visited the delighted Bhuwaneka 
Bahu, by whom he was entertained in regal fashion, 
and who gave tangible expression to his gratitude 
by a loan of 45,000 cruzados* towards the expenses 
of the expedition. The death of Rayigam Bandara 
which followed shortly after served as an excuse to 
Mayadunna for seizing his brother's principality, in 
spite of the remonstrances of the King. The latter 
was anxiously considering the question of a successor. 
He had had by his principal Queen but one child, 
a daughter, who bore the beautiful name of Samudra 
Devi, the Queen of the Ocean. She was now given 
in marriage to a scion of the Royal family, Widiye 
Bandara, a tall swarthy young Prince with large 

Dom Gracia de Noronha 49 

fearless eyes. Mayadunna, whose hopes of succeeding 
to his brother's throne had been strong so long as 
the legal heir was an unmarried girl, now saw that 
the realisation of his wishes depended on his sword 
alone. His army was soon on the held, while the 
Samorin sent a fleet of sixteen vessels under Pachchi 
Marikar and his brother, to assist him by sea. 
Bhuwaneka Bahu once more applied to the Portu- 
guese for help, but the appearance of the Turks 
before Diu ' where Bahadur Shah of Gujarat had 
permitted them to erect a fort in 1535, compelled 
the new Viceroy, Dom Gracia de Noronha, to divert 
the assistance which was being prepared in response 
to this appeal. He sent a message begging the King 
to forgive him for using for his own purposes that 
assistance for which the other had paid. He assured 
him that no sooner should Diu be relieved than the 
promised force would be despatched, and expressed 
his appreciation of the generosity the King had 
displayed in the matter of the loan to de Sousa ; at the 
same time entreating him, as a friend and brother 
of the King of Portugal, to assist yet further with 
money at this hour of sore peril. 

Disappointed as he was, Bhuwaneka Bahu 
immediately despatched three thousand gold Portu- 
guezes ' with an apology for his inability to send 
a larger sum, expressing at the same time a hope 
that the Viceroy would not forget to help him as 
soon as his own troubles were terminated. The 
Viceroy, delighted at such generosity, gave profuse 
expression to his gratitude— albeit the loan was never 

By the end of March 1539 the prospects of 
the Portuguese had so much improved that the veteran 
Miguel Ferreira, now past seventy years of age, was 
able to set out for Ceylon. His arrival brought about 
an entire change in the situation ; Mayadunna 

50 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

promptly withdrew to within his own territory, and 
once more Kotte was saved. 

A great miUtary reception was accorded to Fer- 
reira, but the King had found his friends more 
intolerable than his enemies, and poured out to him 
all his grievances against the Factor, ffelating further 
how he was exposed to open insult and obloquy at 
his hands, and ending with the demand that he 
should be removed from his office at once and sent 
to the Viceroy to be dealt with. Ferreira was much 
embarrassed at this unexpected turn and suggested 
that the matter should be referred to the Viceroy, 
as he had no authority to do anything but fight the 
King's enemies. The King, however, was so indignant 
at the treatment which he had received, that he 
passionately declared that he would rather lose his 
Kingdom than tolerate the presence of such a man 
at his Court : Ferreira and his men could go back if 
they liked. Matters appeared to be at a deadlock ; 
but the next day Ferreira had another interview 
with the King, and with great tact persuaded him 
not to abandon the proposed campaign. He was 
finally won over, and expressed his determination to 
take part in the expedition in person. 

The preparations were soon made, and three 
hundred Portuguese with 18,000 Hewayo, or Lascarins, 
as the Sinhalese troops were called by the Portu- 
guese, took the field. For two days they advanced 
ravaging the country, a Mudaliyar being sent on 
ahead to Mayadunna at Sitawaka i&ith a message 
from Ferreira calling on him to surrender the Moors. 
Ferreira swore by Nazareth, his favourite oath, that 
should the mission end in failure Mayadunna's capital 
should be burnt, and he himself taken in chains to 
receive his reward at the hands of the Viceroy. 

Mayadunna in reply pointed out how dishon- 
ourable it would be for him to surrender men who 

Wa/'with Mayadimna 51 

had taken shelter with him, but begged for two days 
in which to arrange some settlement ; the two days 
passed without anything being done, but a night 
attack on the allied forces brought matters to a 
crisis. Mayadunna laid the blame on the Moors, and 
the King on Ferreira's indignant remonstrance insisted 
that they should be surrendered. In reply he was 
informed that they had escaped. Orders had already 
been issued to march on Sitawaka, when a body of 
men were seen approaching the camp. A hostile 
demonstration was feared, and the Portuguese opened 
fire on them before it was discovered that they were 
200 low caste Paduwo'' who were bringing in the heads 
of the offending Moors, including those of their 
gallant commanders. Some say that they were done 
to death on the orders of Mayadunna, and others 
that they were killed by the villagers who resented 
their overbearing conduct ; the truth will never be 
known. The King's demand had been satisfied and there 
was nothing more left to do but to return to Kotte. 

A peace which was faithfully observed till 1547 
was now concluded between the two brothers. Maya- 
dunna surrendered to the King all the territory he 
had conquered, paying a heavy war indemnity and 
swearing never again to take up arms against his 
Suzerain. Bhuwaneka Bahu in his joy at this success 
rewarded the soldiers of the armada, and presented 
the officers with jewels and precious stones. To the 
Government at Goa he despatched a large quantity 
of cinnamon, together with a loan of 30,000 cruzados. 
The offending Factor, whilst on his way to India in 
chains to stand his trial, met with a violent death 
at the hands of robbers. 

The question of a successor to the throne 
could no longer be deferred. Samudra Devi had borne 
two children, Dharmapala and Wijayapala, and the 
elder of the two was selected by his grandfather as 
his heir. In view of the attitude of Mayadunna 

52 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

it was resolved to place the infant Prince, who had 
been entrusted to the custody of his father's brother 
Tammita Sembahap Perumal, under the protection of 
Dom Joao III. A beautiful image of the child was 
prepared; the head was of ivory and gold, and the 
body of silver, while in the hand the figure carried 
a jewelled crown studded with the finest gems of 
Ceylon, The whole was placed in a rich coffer and 
despatched to Portugal in the care of a Brahmin 
Minister named Panditer, who reached Lisbon after 
a tedious voyage about August 1541. 

By the King's command all the Fidalgos who were 
at Court attended the landing of the Sinhalese, who 
were attired in crimson Cabayas^\ Escorted by 
two Marquises they were driven in a State coach 
to the Palace, where after a ceremonious exchange 
of greetings the Sinhalese delivered the presents they 
had brought with them, and handed to the King 
a palm-leaf scroll from Bhuwaneka Bahu. Therein, 
after the usual compliments, he requested the King 
of Portugal to recognise Dharmapala as heir to his 
Kingdom, and to receive him under his protection. 
Should the request be granted Bhuwaneka Bahu 
pledged himself to continue the payment of the subsidy 
as before, and to allow Dom Joao to retain the 
places which had been assigned to him, on condition 
of his undertaking their defence. 

The arrival of the embassy was a source of 
much gratification to the Portuguese, whose vanity 
was flattered by this tangible recognition of the far- 
reaching extent of their Empire. The Coronation of 
the image was celebrated with all the stately pomp 
and ceremonial of the Portuguese Court, and the day was 
observed as a holiday throughout the country, with bull- 
fights and other festivities. A formal confirmation of the 
Act was drawn up, and the following Alvara proclaimed: 

An Alvara 53 


To all to whom these presents shall come ; Whereas 
Buhanegabaho. King of Ceilam, has sent me word by his Ambas- 
sador Panditcr of the great confidence which he has in 

Taomapala Pandarym his grandson, being his daughter's 
son, that after his own decease he will be fit to rule and govern 
his kingdom and protect his subjects and vassals with all justice, 
'and will preserve inviolate the true friendship which exists 
between u«, ae it is his great desire that all his heirs and suc- 
cessors should observe the same, 

And whereas he has requested me to be pleased to ordain 
that at his demise his aforesaid grandson should succeed to and 
inherit his kingdom ; 

And whereas I have considered that it is the custom for 
sons to succeed their fathers in the aforesaid kingdom, and that 
the aforesaid Tammapala Pandarym is his grandson, being his 
daughter's son , and that there is no other son or grandson of the 
aforesaid King save he alone, wherefore by the aforesaid custom 
the aforesaid kingdom pertains to him of right. 

And whereas it is my earnest desire in this matter to 
please the aforesaid King of Ceyllam as well for the great good- 
will I bear towards him as for the high kindness which he has 
always willingly displayed in all matters relating to my interests 
which have arisen, and it is my hope that the aforesaid his 
grandson will likewise for all time cherish, maintain and preserve 
this our friendship, and will be grateful to me and will merit 
all this great kindness at my hands. 

And for various other just causes me thereunto moving: 
I do by these presents ordain and it is my pleasure that 
at the death of the aforesaid Buhanegabaho, King of Ceillam, he 
the aforesaid Tammapalla Pandarym his grandson should succeed 
to and inherit the aforesaid kingdom and be the King thereof as 
and in the like manner that his aforesaid grandsire does at this 
day hold and possess the same without question, let, or hindrance 
of any kind soever. 

Wherefore I do issue my command in such wise to my 
Captain-Major and Governor in the parts of India, to the Comp- 
troller of my Treasury, and to all and several my other Captains, 
officers and persons to whom these presents are shown or to 
whom knowledge is conveyed thereof, that they do hold the afore- 
said Tammapalla Pandarym as true and lawful heir to the afore- 
said Kingdom of Ceyllam, and that at the decease of the aforesaid 
King his grandsire, they permit him to inherit and succeed thereto, 
and for such purpose render him all support and assistance he 
may d«sire, and protect him from all those who attempt to 

54 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

impede or oppose the same ; for such is my pleasure, and it is 
to the advantage of my service. 

In confirmation whereof I have commanded that these 
presents do issue signed by my hand and sealed with my leaden 
seal and registered at my Chancellary. 

Given at the City of Allmeirym this XII day of March: 
thus done pero Fernandez 

In the year of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ one 
thousand and five hundred and forty-three. 

Ordinances were also promulgated regulating 
trade transactions between the Portuguese and the 
Sinhalese. The former were declared liable to render 
the same dues on goods purchased as any other 
nation. The extortion and violence of their merchants 
were provided against : they were forbidden to fell 
the timber-trees of the Sinhalese for purposes of 
ship-building, or to construct ships without the licence 
of the King of Ceylon and of the Governor of India. 
Regulations were moreover drawn up with regard 
to the purchase of lands by Portuguese settlers, and 
the conversion of slaves to Christianity ; and at the 
special request of Bhuwaneka Bahu six Franciscans, 
with Frey Joao de Villa de Conde as their Superior, 
were despatched to Ceylon to preach the Gospel 
among his subjects. 

Upon the return of the Sinhalese ambassador 
to India, Martin Affonco de Sousa, who was now 
Governor, fitted out two galliots to convey him to 
his own country, at the same time charging him 
with a courteous message to his friend the King, 
assuring him that he had never forgotten the kind- 
ness which he had received at the Royal hands 
when Captain Major of the Seas. The spear which 
he had once grasped, he protested, was still as keen 
if required in the King's defence. The result of the 
mission was very gratifying to the King, who testi- 
fied to his appreciation in that practical manner 


The Royal Caste 55 

which he knew to commend itself to the Portuguese, 
by including with his letter of thanks to the Governor 
a quittance for a sum of 50.000 cruzados out of the 
debt due to him from the King of Portugal. 

But the despatch of the embassy led to further 
complications. According to the constitution of the 
Sinhalese monarchy, the occupant of the Throne had 
necessarily to be of the Royal Caste. Not only so, 
but he had to be a member of that division of it 
which called itself the Stiriya Wansa and claimed 
descent from the Sun— a claim which recalls the 
story of the Quest of the Golden Fleece. As the 
Royal Caste was in Ceylon found untainted only in 
the reigning family, it had been customary to obtain 
from South India the Queens who were to perpetuate 
the succession. Such a Queen was popularly known 
as the Ran Doliya, or Golden Vehicle. In the 
case of the King the prevailing rule of monogamy 
was relaxed, and he was permitted, if he so desired, 
to have in addition two or three junior wives of the 
Goi Wansa, and to these was applied the designa- 
tion of Yakada Doliya, or Iron Vehicle. 

At this time Bhuwaneka Bahu had by his Yakada 
Dolt two sons who had cherished high expectations on 
their own account, and were bitterly disappointed at his 
choice of Dharmapala to succeed him on the throne. To 
pacify them he proposed that they should conquer for 
themselves the Kanda Uda Rata and Jaffna, while 
at the same time there were ominous rumours that 
Mayadunna proposed to support his claim by a display 
trf force. Under the circumstances Bhuwaneka Bahu 
made representations at Goa, begging the Governor 
to interfere to prevent the outbreak of a war which 
would ruin the hopes of his grandson, and further 
requesting his assistance in conquering the Kingdoms 
which he proposed to give to his two discontented 
sons. He himself undertook to bear all expenses 
likely to be incurred in the attempt. 

56 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

The application was a tempting one, and on the 
12th of August 1543 de Sousa set out from Goa with 
a fleet of thirty-six vessels. Misfortune attended the 
expedition from the start. Storms scattered the ships 
about the Indian Ocean, and the Governor himself 
was glad to take shelter in Neduntivo,i» a small 
island off the Coast of Jaffna. From there negotia- 
tions however were opened with Chaga Raja, the 
reigning chieftain at Nallur, the capital of Jaffna, 
who was finally bullied into an agreement whereby 
he promised to pay a yearly tribute of 5000 xera- 
fims,'2 and two tusked elephants ; of this tribute he 
was required to deliver two instalments in advance. 
He was on the other hand allowed to retain a large 
number of the cannon which he had taken from 
wrecked Portuguese vessels, on payment of their 
value. After these achievements the Governor returned 
to Cochin. 

In the meanwhile an important development was 
taking place in Europe. The spread of Classical 
learning, the extension of maritime enterprise, and 
the views advanced by Luther and others who thought 
with him, compelled the Church to take stock of 
her position and to adopt vigorous action for the 
maintenance of her lofty claims. In 1534 Ignatius of 
Loyala founded the Society of Jesus at Paris, and 
two years later the Inquisition was established. Dom 
Joao III supported the cause of the Church with a 
zeal which was fanatical, and in the very year in 
which Bhuwaneka Bahu's ambassador to his Court set 
sail from Ceylon, presided over the first Auto da 
Fe held in Portugal. Bhuwaneka Bahu therefore 
acted with much political shrewdness when he applied 
for Missionaries to be sent to his country, though 
he himself had no intention of adopting the new 
religion. Buddhism, perhaps not the least intellectual 
of religions, disdained the idea of spiritual rivalry, 
and treated with genial liberality all who attempted 

Francis Xavier 57 

to minister to the higher cravings of mankind. With 
the King's encouragement Churches were soon erected 
in the fishing villages of the south-western coast, while 
de Conde took up his residence at Court, where he was 
placed in charge of the education of Dharmapala. 

In October 1542 Francis Xavier arrived in India, 
and the story of his conversion of the Parawas, 
who mainly supplied the divers for the Indian 
Pearl Fishery, and who possessed at the time a 
nominal Christianity, the price of their being rescued 
from the oppression of their Moorish rulers, is well 
known. A wave of enthusiasm swept all heathen practises 
from the country, idols were destroyed with every 
mark of ignominy, instruction in the Faith was 
rapidly organised, and whole villages were baptised 
daily. A convert of Xavier, who had adopted his 
name, was sent to carry on the good work among 
the kindred people at Manar, the sandy Island 
which, lying between Ceylon and Adam's Bridge, 
controlled the approach by sea to Jaffna from the 
South. The disciple proved worthy of his teacher, 
and crowds flocked to join the Church of Christ. 
No doubt the converts in their ardour for their 
new faith showed, like their kinsfolk in India, an 
excess of zeal; at any rate the Hindu priests found 
it necessary to report to Nallur the danger which 
threatened the country from the spread of these 
new ideas. Chaga Raja adopted prompt measures to 
nip the movement in the bud, and five thousand 
troops sent by him landed at Manar and put all 
the converts and their teacher to the sword. Xavier 
threw himself with his fiery energy into the pre- 
parations for avenging their death, but all his efforts 
were nullified by the wreck of a treasure ship off 
the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula. The King, in the 
exercise of the right claimed by several of the 
Indian Rajas, seized its rich cargo of gold and silk 


58 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

stuffs, and to persuade him to yield this up became 
the chief preoccupation of the authorities ; so busily 
engaged were they in coaxing the Raja into a com- 
placent mood, that all idea of a punitive expedition 
had to be abandoned. 

Dom Joao de Castro succeeded de Sousa in 
September 1545, and was called upon to deal with the 
application of Bhuwaneka Bahu in respect of his two 
sons, who had arrived at Goa with ample treasure 
from their father to purchase help. The Council was 
quite prepared to assist them, for if the Princes 
were successful they were ready to declare themselves 
vassals ot Portugal. But at this juncture a severe 
epidemic of smallpox broke out and among the 
victims were the two Princes, who died within a 
month of each other. They were interred with royal 
honours in the Convent of St. Francisco. 

On the 18th of March 1546 the King of Portugal 
despatched a remarkable letter to his Viceroy, 
After bewailing the idol-worship which prevailed in 
certain parts of India subject to Portuguese authority, 
he continued: "We charge you to discover all the 
idols by means of diligent officers, to reduce them 
to fragments and utterly to consume them, in 
whatsoever place they may be found, proclaiming 
rigorous penalties against such persons as shall dare 
to engrave, cast, sculpture, limn, paint or bring to 
light any figure in metal, bronze, wood, clay or any 
other substance, or shall introduce them from foreign 
parts; and against those who shall celebrate in 
public or in private any festivities which have any 
Gentile taint, or shall abet them, or shall conceal the 
Brahmins, the pestilential enemies of the name of 
of Christ." While emphasizing the necessity of severe 
punishment he added: "And because the Gentiles 
submit themselves to the yoke of the Gospel not 
alone through their conviction of the purity of the 
Faith and for that they are sustained by the hope 

Conversion 59 

of Eternal Life, they should also be encouraged with 
some temporal favours, such as greatly mollify the 
hearts of those who receive them ; and therefore 
you should earnestly set yourself to see that the 
new Christians from this time forward do obtain and 
enjoy all exemptions and freedom from tribute, and 
moreover that they hold the privileges and offices 
of honour which up till now the Gentiles have been 
wont to possess." 

He also directed that if the King of Jaffna had 
not been suitably punished for his persecution of the 
Christians, action should be taken against him without 
delay, so that the displeasure of the King of 
Portugal against those who ventured to interfere with 
the conversion of the heathen might be made plain 
to all. 


1. This was a social degradation which was probably more 
feared than the punishment of death. The practice was 
not unfrequently resorted to by Raja Sinha II in the seven- 
teenth century. 

2. These were the White Shield, the Pearl Umbrella, the 
Golden Sword, the Chamara or Tail of the great Thibetan 
Yak, and the Golden Shoes. The Crown merely ranked among 
the sixty-four Royal Ornaments. 

3. Shells of the genus Turbinella, which are collected in 
large quantities off the north-west coast of Ceylon, and 
exported to India, where they are sawn and used as orna- 
ments. The larger shells are perforated and used as trum- 
pets at Hindu temples. The spiral goes normally to the right ; 
left-handed shells are extremely rare. Vishnu is always 
represented with a chank in his hand. 

4 The system of caste obtaining in Ceylon recognised three 

high castes— the Royal, the Priestly or Brahmin, and the 
Grahapati or Goigama. The first two were represented 
only by the frequent arrivals from India ; these by inter- 
marriage soon disappeared within the Goigama caste, and 
had to be replaced for religious and ceremonial purposes by 
fresh importations. 

5. Including Liberality, Piety, Lenity, Moderation, the sense of 
Honour, the spirit of Mercy, &c. 

6. A cruzado of gold, worth 420 reis, was issued by Albo- 
querque in 1510, A re in 1513 was worth. 268d, and by 
1600 it had depreciated to 16d. Ten rets = a Sinhalese gold 
fanam. Dr. Garcia de Orta accompanied de Sousa on this 
expedition as his physician. He settled in India, where in 
1563 he published his Colloqttios on the Simples and Drugs 
of India. 

7. Under the command of Solyman Bashaw, the Governor of 
Cairo. This expedition had been despatched by the Grand 
Turk at the request of the King of Cambay. 

8. The Portitgiiez was a large Portuguese gold coin, dis- 
playing on the reverse the Cross of the Order of Christ, 
and worth 15 xerafims, at 300 reis the xerafim. A Portuguez 
was thus the equivalent of 450 Sinhalese fanatns of gold. 

9. These are said to be the descendants of the 
Pandiyan prisoners of war, and were attached to the Royal 
villages where they cultivated the King's fields. In peace 


time they acted as palanquin bearers, and with the intro- 
duction of gunpowder they were entrusted with the convey- 
ance of the small cannon. The Portuguese historian de 
Couto has left an unamiable description of them . . . 
"a caste of Chingalas cruel in the extreme, so that when 
they capture an enemy they immediately cut off his ears 
and lips." 

10. Cabaya, a word originally Asiatic, received by the Portu- 
guese from the Arabs, and brought back with them to 
India. It was applied to the long tunic which was worn by 
the better classes of India, and which was frequently 
presented by the Portuguese to Indian Rajas. The Cabaya 
is still a portion of the uniform of a Sinhalese Mudaliyar. 

11. A small island twenty miles south-west of Jaffna. The 
Portuguese subsequently named it das Vacas, and the Dutch 
who followed them renamed it Delft. 

12. Tliis name, representing the Arabic Ashrafi, was applied 
by the Portuguese to a silver coin of the value of 300- 
360 nis. 


The negotiations which were carried on in 
connection with the claims of the two Kotte Princes 
reveal this work of conversion in a pitiful light. 
Everyone realised that the Portuguese King was 
fervently anxious for the spread of Christianity, and 
the conversion of his future subjects was the chief 
thing that each aspirant to Kingly power held out 
to the Portuguese as the price of their military 
assistance. A friar acted as intermediary between 
the authorities at Goa and the Uda Rata monarch, 
while no less an agent than Xavier himself under- 
took a similar mission at Lisbon on behalf of the 
Jaffna King's brother and rival. For war was in the 
air and Kotte, Sitawaka, Senkadagala and Nallur were 
all eagerly bidding for Portuguese assistance; the 
authorities at Goa, however, were too intent on 
securing what profit they could from all the four 
competitors to give a definite undertaking to any one 
of them. Nevertheless towards the end of 1547 they 
despatched a small force of a hundred men under 
the command of Antonio Moniz Barretto, apparently 
leaving it to him to decide after inquiry on the spot, 
in which scale the weight of the Portuguese sword 
was to be thrown. Barretto's position was an embar- 
rassing one, and in the maze of intrigue he did not 
know in whom it was safe to place confidence. He 
at length decided in favour of Bhuwaneka Bahu, 
and a large body of men set out on the road to 

Mayadunna on being informed of the approaching 
danger, abandoned his capital and retired to the 
stronghold of Deraniyagala, leaving his palace 
prepared for the reception of the King, with lighted 

Antonio Monis Banetto 63 

lamps as for a welcome guest. Sitawaka was 
occupied by the royal army, and in a few days the 
Portuguese advanced into the Uda Rata; but the 
opposition they encountered was so severe, that 
Barretto was compelled to set fire to his baggage and 
turn in flight. The Sinhalese were soon in full chase, 
and pursued the Portuguese with such terrible vigour 
through the dense forests, that by the time the 
unfortunate expedition was able to reach Maya- 
dunna's territory, nearly half the Portuguese had 
been killed, while of the rest there was not one that 
had not received some hurt. 

Mayadunna was quick to take advantage of 
the turn affairs had taken ; by his orders the men 
were carefully attended to, and boats were provided 
for the conveyance of those whose wounds prevented 
their continuing their march to Colombo. He also 
utilised the opportunity to poison the mind of Barretto 
against Bhuwaneka Bahu, hinting that the King was 
privy to what had taken place. 

On reaching Colombo Barretto sent a message 
to Bhuwaneka Bahu reminding him of the conver- 
sation which he had had with Xavier, and subse- 
quently waited on the King to discuss with him 
the question of his conversion. Unfortunately he was 
more of a soldier than a priest ; his whole theme 
consisted of the awful terrors of hell, and these he 
painted in such terrifying colours that the King, 
appalled, inquired whether he had been through them 
in person. This so offended Barretto that, forgetting 
in whose presence he was, he dashed his hat on the 
floor and turning on his heel, walked away, leaving 
the King sorrowfully to reflect how dreadful must 
be the nature of the Christian hell since the souls 
which went there had to undergo the tortures which 
Barretto had described. The latter refused to accept 
some presents which the King sent after him, and 
sailed away without even bidding him farewell. 

64 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Meanwhile the shrewd Mayadunna had reaUsed 
that it suited his purpose very much better to win 
the confidence of the Portuguese and to estrange 
them from his brother, than to enter on a war the 
end of which none could foresee. He had already 
created a good impression on Barretto, and he 
followed this up by a secret communication to the 
Factor to warn him that the King was plotting the 
destruction of the Factory ; the substantial presents 
with which the message was accompanied, as well 
as the scoffs of Widiye Bandara at the boasted valour 
of the Portuguese, went far to convince them that 
Mayadunna, and not Bhuwaneka Bahu, was their true 

At the end of August 1550 the new Viceroy, 
Dom Affonco de Noronha, was driven by storms 
whilst on his way to Goa into the harbour of Colombo. 
He had already heard of the evil reports against the 
King, who was again at war with Mayadunna. The 
Franciscan de Conde had returned to Europe the 
previous year, disappointed in his efforts to convert 
Bhuwaneka Bahu, and Xavier himself had written 
representing Bhuwaneka Bahu as the bitter enemy 
of Christianity and unworthy of the protection of 
the Portuguese. Anxious to clear himself of these 
suspicions, the King sent two Mudaliyars to call on 
the Viceroy with a valuable present of gems; the 
present was accepted, but the arrogant nobleman 
let it be clearly seen that he regarded the failure of 
the King to appear in person as a slight to his 
own dignity. To add to the King's distress Maya- 
dunna himself appeared on the scene, accompanied 
it was whispered not so much by men as by money- 
bags, and he went away leaving the Viceroy very 
favourably impressed. The King now sent a further 
present of 15,000 pardaos ^ in cash for the Viceroy, 
with some valuable jewels for the Queen of Portugal, 
and an interview was arranged at the Franciscan 

Bhuwaneka Baku murdered 65 

Convent of St. Antonio : but the vanity of the Portu- 
guese was not easily soothed, and the Viceroy was 
so overbearing in his behaviour that the King, seeing 
the suspicion with which he was treated, turned 
his back and returned to Kotte, swearing that only 
his respect for the King of Portugal prevented his 
ordering the immediate destruction of the Factory. He 
sent an imperious message to the Viceroy commanding 
him to leave his dominions forthwith, and this 
the latter, though he longed to avenge the humili- 
ation, was compelled to do, for his forces were not 
sufficient to make success certain. 

Five months later Bhuwaneka Bahu, who was 
suffering from the effects of recurring attacks of 
fever, withdrew to Kelaniya on the pleasant banks 
of the Kelani Ganga, to recruit. One day at noon 
as he appeared at the window of the palace which 
overlooked the spot where, according to tradition, 
the Buddha himself had bathed in the stream, he 
was shot through the head by Antonio de Barcelos, 
the mulatto slave of the Viceroy, who had stayed 
behind when his master sailed away. The King fell 
mortally wounded, and in spite of all the remedies 
which were applied he died within three hours. The 
Portuguese themselves appear to have had little 
doubt as to who was responsible for this dastardly 
act ; but, to quote the Rajawaliya, ^ "Some say that 
this hurt was done of set purpose, others that it was 
done unwittingly : God alone knoweth which is true." 

The administration of their eastern settlements 
by the Portuguese had, as revealed in the letters of 
St. Francis Xavier, degenerated into an outrage 
on the good name of Christian Europe. His 
consuming desire for the rapid acquisition of wealth 
swept away from the mind of the official all 
consideration of the duty which he owed to his God 
and to his King. No scruple of honour was allowed 


66 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

to interfere with the contemptuous breaking of the 
word pUghted to the Indian Raja who had welcomed 
the foreigner to his territory. The limitless avarice 
which could convert Portuguese gentlemen into 
procurers who entrapped village girls into the brothels 
from which they derived a considerable income, was 
only equalled by their horrible lust and peculiar 
callousness with regard to the infliction of physical 
pain on others. The real obstruction to the progress 
of St. Francis' work arose from the acts of his 
countrymen. "I feel strongly inclined," he wrote on 
the 24th of March 1544 "to be off and have done 
with it. For why should we waste more time here 
among men who are utterly regardless of any 
consideration of justice, and who never care a straw at 
the cost of what damage to religion or to the State 
they indulge their own passions ? " ^ 

All this, however, was only the reflection of 
the change which had come about in Portugal itself. 
For fifty years the East had been pouring her wealth 
by the shipload into that small country, till her Ruler 
was the richest King in Europe. The countryside 
was abandoned to African slaves, while the peasantry 
flocked into the seaports to share in the profits of 
the Eastern trade. That trade was a Royal mono- 
poly, for it had to be maintained by means of armies 
and fleets. The noblemen of the great houses whose 
scions had fought so gallantly for their King, still 
rallied round him, but now in the character of 
sycophants whose sole desire was the acquisition of 
wealth, whatever might be the nature of the means 
employed to secure it. Each year the crowded 
Indian fleet bore away the more enterprising, and 
very few of them lived to return to their native 
land. Moreover, the large number of emigrants who 
were continually sailing for Brazil, still further reduced 
a population which hardly numbered a million souls 
when Portugal began her career of conquest. In 

The Viceroy as Freebooter 67 

the struggle for gold, however, no statesman could 
spare the time to reflect on the result which this 
incessant drain of her men was bound to produce 
in Portugal before many years had passed. 

Ceylon was soon to supply a shameful illustra- 
tion of the truth of Xavier's words. The youthful 
Dharmapala had been proclaimed King immediately 
upon the death of his grandfather, and his father 
Widiye Bandara had been nominated Regent during 
his minority. Early in October the Viceroy, de Noronha, 
arrived at Colombo with the largest Portuguese army 
which had yet visited the Island. His declared object 
was to settle the affairs of the country, and three 
thousand soldiers had been got ready to assist him 
in this self-imposed task. The greatest excitement 
prevailed when his fleet of over seventy vessels was 
seen approaching the harbour ; but the excitement 
was changed to amazement when five hundred 
soldiers under the command of the Viceroy's own 
son occupied the Capital and arrested all the higher 
officials of the Household. An inquisition was held 
as to the whereabouts of the Royal Treasure, the 
unfortunate officials being freely tortured to compel 
them to disclose the hiding-places. Not satisfied with 
the results of his search, the Viceroy proceeded to 
ransack the Palace itself, seizing everything of value, 
iucluding even the King's golden spittoons. 

A meeting was now summoned to discuss the 
steps to be taken to meet the danger which threatened 
from Mayadunna. The Viceroy demanded 200,000 
pardaos as the price of the Portuguese assistance. 
Half of this sum was to be paid at once, while the 
plunder of Sitawaka was to be equally divided between 
the Kings of Ceylon and Portugal. Eighty thousand 
pardaos were forthcoming, and then the 3000 Portu- 
guese together with the same number of Sinhalese 
took the field. Driving back the outposts guarding 
the road which ran by the side of the Kelaniya 

68 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

river, they approached the Capital, which they found 
abandoned. Mayadunna had withdrawn to Deraniya- 
gala, leaving behind him at Sitawaka a Portuguese 
with a letter addressed to the Viceroy. He had 
heard, he wrote, that the Viceroy was coming with 
a very large body of men, and as there was not 
room for all of them, he had arranged to vacate 
the place in good time so that the Portuguese should 
not be incommoded. Mayadunna added that he had 
also heard that the Viceroy was anxious for precious 
stones ; he and his people had therefore decided to 
leave him the stones of their city ; if he aimed 
higher he could follow them to the mountains where 
Mayadunna was awaiting him with his treasure. 

The city, built on either side of the Sitawaka 
Ganga, was of considerable size. On the southern 
bank, between the river and the rapid Getahetta Ela, 
a stream still so famous for its precious stones, on 
an eminence which was approached by twenty wide 
steps, with three gates on each side, rose the royal 
palace. On the northern bank facing the palace, 
where the broad river hurried past in a wide curve, 
was the beautiful Bhairawa Kovil, an exquisite 
temple of carved granite- The city was entered and 
sacked and the whole of the palace dug up in a 
fruitless search for treasure. The temple was robbed 
of all its valuable contents, its images and fittings 
of gold and silver being seized upon by the Viceroy. 
When, however, the young King begged him to fulfil 
his share of the contract and to send a few hundred 
Portuguese in pursuit of Mayadunna, he was met 
by a demand for the immediate payment of the 
20,000 pardaos still due. This sum the King was 
unable to raise, whereupon the Viceroy, refusing to 
share the plunder with the King as had been 
promised, retired with it to the Coast. "Had the Indian 
broken his word with the Christian, he had been a 
barbarian. I know not what a Christian is, that 

The Viceroy as Freebooter G9 

breaks his with the barbarian. Perhaps wiser men 
know," is the comment of Fariay Sousa' on this 

Returning to Kotte the Portuguese hastened to 
make the most profitable use they could of their 
now limited time. The wretched inhabitants were 
treated as if they belonged to some conquered town, 
being exposed to the violence of the lustful and 
needy soldiery. Men were killed to rob them of 
their bracelets and earrings ; and women were ravished 
till none dared to show herself in public. Widiye 
Bandara, burning as he was with indignation, was 
helpless to resist and escaped from the Capital, while 
Sembahap Perumal was nominated in his place. A 
pressing message was sent to the King urging on 
him the desirability of his turning Christian ; but 
the King had had enough of the affection of Christ- 
ians and of the honour of Portuguese noblemen ; he 
returned an evasive reply declaring that it would be 
■ impolitic for him to take so unpopular a step while 
the attitude of Mayadunna remained what it was. 
He was, however, willing to consult the wishes of 
the Viceroy to this extent : he gave into his care 
an infant child, a son of the late King, to be taken 
to Goa and brought up as a Christian,^ and with 
this the Viceroy's religious zeal had to be satisfied. 

He still, however, pressed for the payment of 
the 20,000 pardaos which in spite of his gross viola- 
tion of his contract he claimed as due to him. When 
the King declared his inability to meet this demand, 
the Viceroy, as the final act in his career of shame, 
seized the person of Sembahap Perumal and sent 
him on board one of the Portuguese vessels, as a 
hostage for the payment of the money. The Regent 
having failed to obtain the required sum from his 
friends, sold his own golden girdle and paid the 
Viceroy 5000 pardaos ; for the balance he gave his 
promissory note made payable within a year. This 

70 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

transaction concluded, the Viceroy, having convinced 
himself that there was nothing to be squeezed from 
anyone, sailed away. Well might Xavier express his 
amazement at the inflexions which the word "to rob" 
was capable of receiving in the mouths of Portu- 
guese officials. 

With the departure of the Viceroy Widiye Bandara 
came back into power. The Factor was put to death, 
the conversion of the Sinhalese was forbidden, and 
several of the priests were driven to seek shelter in 
the forests. 

It is indeed the boast of the Sinhalese that 
force has never been employed by them in those 
fields where reason alone should prevail. No Hypatia 
has stained their country with her blood ; no Smith- 
field has darkened their serene sky with its murky 
clouds. Buddhism, alone of the great religions which 
Asia has produced, has displayed a real spirit of 
tolerance. Temples were erected to the Hindu deities 
by monarchs who were staunch upholders of the 
Dharma. Buddhist temples still provide for the 
religious exercises of the Mohammedan tenants living 
in the villages belonging to them. It was in this 
spirit that Bhuwaneka Bahu had applied for Christian 
missionaries to be sent to his country, and it was 
in the same spirit that his subjects had received 
them into their midst. But at this juncture the arro- 
gance of the Portuguese, culminating in the treachery 
of the Viceroy, produced a reaction directed against 
the religion which the conduct of the latter had so 
grossly maligned. De Noronha, however, on his return 
to Goa found himself too busily employed with the 
Turks, who again laid siege to Ormuz, to attend to 
matters in Ceylon ; he had therefore to content him- 
self with sending conciliatory messages to Widiye 
Bandara, who was glad to be left undisturbed. 

De Noronha had in fact lost an opportunity of 
establishing the supremacy of Portugal over the entire 

The Fort of Colombo 71 

Island such as never presented itself again in the 
course of the next hundred years of warfare. The 
forces of Kotte were at his disposal, and neither 
Sitawaka nor Senkadagala was in a position to offer 
more than a feeble resistance. The Sinhalese had 
not yet acquired that familiarity with the use of fire- 
arms which was soon to make them so formidable 
among their wilds, while the Portuguese still employed 
protective armour, against which the missiles of the 
Sinhalese were of little avail. That opportunity had been 
lost through lust of gold, but the helpless condition 
of Dharmapala, threatened as he was by the ambi- 
tions of Mayadunna, made it desirable that the Portu- 
guese should have their own head-quarters in the 
Island, rather than continue as the dependents of 
the Sinhalese King. Accordingly Dom Pedro Mas- 
carenhas, who succeeded de Noronha in 1554, turned 
his attention to the abandoned fort of Colombo, and 
in November of the same year he despatched Dom 
Duarte de Eca to Ceylon, with five hundred soldiers 
and all the necessaries for building it anew. This 
time it was designed on a larger scale than had been 
proposed by de Albergaria, and included the area 
subsequently occupied by the walls of Colombo. The 
lagoon which almost encircled the new settlement 
appears to have been now dammed, and formed the 
main defence of the position which rapidly grew in 
importance. Outside the fortifications there sprang 
up the palm groves and delightful gardens where 
the Portuguese had their villas and occupied the 
period of peace in a round of pleasure. In later 
years the settlement aspired to the dignity and 
privileges of a Cidade, and employed as its arms the 
gridiron of the Saint after whom de Almeida had 
named the headland. 

De Eca had also received secret orders to 
arrest Widiye Bandara, whose hostility towards the 
Portuguese had grown more and more pronounced. 

72 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

This was treacherously done and the Prince thrown 
into a dungeon where he was kept in heavy chains, 
while Samudra Devi fled to Rayigama. By the powerful 
influence of gold she soon caused a tunnel to 
be opened into the Prince's dungeon, by means of 
which he effected his escape, and joining the Princess 
retired with her to Pelenda, amidst the lofty moun- 
tains in the extreme limits of the Pasdun Korale. 
From there he began his career of vengeance. Crowds 
flocked to his standard, the coast towns were ravaged, 
the Churches which had been built in them by the 
Franciscans were razed to the ground, and the Portu- 
guese, one and all, put to the sword. Unfortunately 
the Princess died about this time, whereupon Maya- 
dunna gave his own widowed daughter to Widiye 
Bandara for wife. But the hopes of an alliance thus 
created were destroyed by the harsh manner in which 
he treated her, and the irritated father turned to the 
Portuguese, with whom in August 1555 he entered 
into a treaty. 

In accordance with this the Sitawaka army, 
commanded by the youngest son of Mayadunna, 
Tikiri Rajjuru Bandara, a boy of thirteen, with whom 
was associated Wikramasinha Mudiyanse, the bravest 
of his father's Generals, advanced to the Kalu Ganga, 
and was joined at Kalutara by the Portuguese 
contingent of three hundred men. After crossing the 
limpid waters of the Pelen Ganga the allied forces 
were met and attacked by Widiye Bandara, who after 
a hard-fought battle was forced to flee, abandoning 
his wife and treasures to the conquerors. The 
Princess was sent on elephant-back to Sitawaka, 
while two miserable days were spent in destroying 
the entrenchments which guarded Widiye Bandara's 
stronghold. The soldiers were encamped in the midst 
of rank grass and marshy pools infested with myriads 
of leeches, that horrible curse of the wet zone. 
Clothes afforded no protection against their fine 

Widiye Bandara 73 

needle-like bodies ; satiated they dropped in streams 
of blood from the eyelids and ears of the men, and 
had to be plucked out of their very gums as they 
ate their food. Rest was out of the question, for 
the voracious animals swarmed on all sides in 
ever-increasing numbers. The task was hurriedly 
completed, and then Tikiri Rajjuru Bandara started in 
pursuit of his brother-in-law, who at length found 
refuge within the Uda Rata, where he was 
welcomed by Karalliyadda Bandara, who had revolted 
against his father Wikrama Bahu, and had succeed- 
ed in wresting the power from him. 

Widiye Bandara without delay raised another 
army and descended into the Four Korales, where- 
upon Tikiri Rajjuru Bandara advanced into the 
district and forced him to withdraw by night to within 
the mountain barrier, whither he was conveyed 
on the back of a man in the curious fashion which 
the Russian traveller Athanasius Nikitin had described 
in the previous century, and of which Sindbad has 
left us an account in his story of the Old Man of 
the Sea. The Uda Rata army, demoralised by the 
desertion of its leader, fled after a short resistance 
and was pursued with great slaughter, the victors 
with one accord saluting their boy-General on the 
field of battle by the name of Raja Sinha, the Lion 
King, a name destined for many years to come to 
cause the blood of the Portuguese in Ceylon to run 

Mayadunna now called upon Karalliyadda to 
drive out Widiye Bandara, who took shelter with 
Edirimanna Surya Raja at Devamedda. Six miles 
from where the precious Danta Dhatu had lain 
enshrined in the massive base of Etu Gala, to the 
left of the road from Kurunegala to Puttalam, begin 
the forest-clad heights of the Natagane Range. 
Parallel with them runs a second range, which 


74 Ceybn and the Portuguese 

beginning with the sinuous outline of the Anda Gala, 
reaches its highest point in the pallid austerity of 
the Yakdessa crag, where the hapless Kuweni had 
invoked the curse of heaven on her faithless lover 
Wijayo. A sudden depression of the Natagane range, 
running north and south, reveals a deeper hollow of 
a few acres in extent, in which lay Mudukonda 
Pola, the stronghold of the Raja. To the north lies 
the great plain stretching in the direction of Puttalam, 
its monotony interrupted at intervals by the 
isolated hills which rise abruptly from the level of 
the surrounding country. A massive ring of stone 
encloses the great hollow, and here and there large 
caves afford a dry and secure retreat, while arti- 
ficial piles of stone helped to strengthen the natural 
depressions in this majestic rampart. The approach 
from the village of Kirimune lies over rugged ground 
closed in by enormous boulders, the entrance to the 
stronghold being effected through a tunnel formed by 
a rock rising to a height of nearly 100 feet and 
resting against the great mass by its side. 

Such was Mudukonda Pola, the retreat to which 
the refugee was welcomed by his kinsman ; but the 
restless Widiye Bandara was not satisfied. He basely 
plotted the murder of his host, and seized on the 
Government of the Seven Korales. The horror-stricken 
inhabitants appealed to the rulers of Kotte and 
Sitawaka, and their joint armies supported by a few 
Portuguese took the field. Widiye Bandara's forces 
were hurled back, and he himself, realising that 
fortune had turned against him, collected what he 
could of his treasures and escaped to Kalpitiya, 
whence he took ship to Jaffna. The Sinhalese Kings 
were accustomed to carry about their persons a 
model of the Tooth Relic set in gems and gold, and 
such a model had accompanied the Prince through 
all the tribulations to which he had been exposed 
at the hands of the Portuguese. His last desperate 

Death of Widiye Bandara 75 

throw had failed, but as he fled he still clung to the 
precious object as the most cherished of all his 

On his arrival at Jaffna Widiye Bandara was 
kindly received by its ruler, who promised him 
assistance against his enemies, and caused a great 
festival to be celebrated at his temple at Nallur. 
There a sad tragedy occurred. The accidental explo- 
sion of some powder alarmed Widiye Bandara, and 
he immediately drew his sword. A fight ensued 
between the Sinhalese and the Tamils within the 
sacred precincts ; a young noble threw himself in 
front of his Prince, and sixty Tamils it is said fell 
victims to his sword before he himself was stretched 
in death at his master's feet. Widiye Bandara and 
his son Wijayapala were among the slain, and all his 
treasures including the model of the Tooth, fell into 
the hands of the Tamil King. 

So ended the wars and troubles of this strange 
character, of whom de Couto* truly remarks : "whom 
the Captain of Colombo persecuted. If he came to 
bite, it was because they worried him." 

With the disappearance of Widiye Bandara, 
the adherents of the Kotte dynasty found themselves 
discredited and without a capable leader. Sembahap 
Perumal had the previous year, as a consequence of 
an intrigue between Mayadunna and the Portuguese, 
been banished to Goa, where fortunately for him his 
friend Francisco Barretto was Governor. Barretto 
gave him a warm welcome, and before long succeeded 
in persuading him that it was to his advantage, both 
spiritual and temporal, to go through the rite of 
baptism. This he accordingly did, adopting at the 
same time the name of his sponsor, the Governor. 
He shortly afterwards returned to Ceylon, accompanied 
by de Conde, and took up his position as the chief 
of the King's subjects ; but, though gentle and 
cultured and with much quiet worldly wisdom, his was 

76 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

not that type of character of which the country 
stood in such urgent need, if the nationaUty of the 
Sinhalese was to be saved from destruction. The 
action of Bhuwaneka Bahu in placing his infant heir 
in the hands of the Franciscans, however much it 
may speak for his liberality of mind, has not added 
to his reputation for political sagacity. The results 
of such a course of training in the case of a youth 
threatened by powerful enemies, could not be long in 
showing themselves. There was a feeling of nervous 
uneasiness in the air, and it began to be whispered 
about from mouth to mouth, though no one ventured 
to say it aloud, that the gold finial of the Dalada 
Maligawa would never again reflect the mysterious 
five-hued aura' of the Buddha, for the Danta Dhatu 
no longer rested beneath its shadow. 

It was not till some years afterwards that the 
details of the story became known. Hiripitiye Diya- 
wadana Nilame was the great nobleman who was 
entrusted with the custody of the relic, and to him 
warning was conveyed in a vision of the night. He 
dreamt that a venerable figure appeared before him 
and addressed him in a strange jingling verse of 
Sinhalese and Tamil. He was greatly distressed in 
mind, and after much consideration interpreted the 
jingle for himself as follows : "My love for Kotte 
is no more. Begone with the Tooth into the Middle 
Kingdom," Taking advantage of a dark night he 
secreted the Relic in its smallest and loveliest ruby, 
encrusted case, within the folds of his waist-cloth, 
and plunging into the Diyawanna Oya swam across 
the stream. On reaching the further bank he made 
his way with all secrecy and expedition to Sitawaka 
and presented himself before the delighted Mayadunna, 
who almost at once set about erecting a magnificent 
Maligawa at Delgomuwa for the reception of the 
Relic : for he who holds the Danta Dhatu holds the 
sovereignty of Sri Lanka. 

Conversion of Dharmapola 77 

The year 1556 witnessed in Ceylon one of those 
strange out-bursts which the enthusiasm of Xavier 
had kindled so frequently among the fishing popula- 
tions of South India. In this year the whole of the 
allied caste occupying the sea coast to the south of 
Colombo, a community of 70,000 souls in all, took 
refuge within the fold of the Catholic Church. "For 
this I give much praise unto Our Lord," wrote King 
Dom Joao III on the 20th of March 1557 to the 
Custodio of the Franciscans, "and I much commend 
to you that so far as in you lies you labour that 
there may not be lacking the means necessary for 
obtaining the fulfilment to be expected from such a 

His gratification would have been even more 
intense had he lived long enough to receive the 
letter containing the news of his own conversion 
which his protege despatched to him in the same 
year. Dharmapala was baptised with the name of 
Dom Joao Periya Bandara, while his Queen, who 
was baptised at the same time, took the name of 
Dona Catherina, after the Queen of Portugal. Dharma- 
pala's letter to the King contained further an appeal 
for protection against Mayadunna. The Queen Mother 
and the Cardinal Dom Henrique, who were acting 
as Regents during the minority of the infant Dom 
Sebastiao, while thanking the Lord Who had illuminated 
Dharmapala in his darkness, assured him that 
instructions would be issued to the Viceroy to protect 
his interests. The Pope also, who had been busy 
forming an alliance with the Grand Turk, the heretics 
of Germany, and the Most Christian King of France, 
to wage war on the Most Catholic King of Spain, 
found time to send the Royal Convert his Apostolic 
Benediction, and to recommend him to the special 
protection of the King of Portugal. 

78 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

From the political standpoint few actions could 
have surpassed in folly the conversion of Dharma- 
pala. As the Raja Ratnakare says : 'This Kingdom 
can never be governed by a King who is not of 
the religion of Buddha." None the less, however 
distasteful the action of the King might have been 
to the overwhelming majority of his subjects, it is 
possible that the liberality of Buddhism would have 
condoned the error, if the King had kept his 
convictions to himself. Unfortunately the Church was 
in a peculiarly aggressive mood ; Dom Joao III was 
a pronounced fanatic, whose policy was controlled 
by ecclesiastical advisers, and his zeal animated the 
Franciscans, who saw in Dharmapala a divinely 
appointed instrument for the conversion of the whole 
of Ceylon. The enthusiasm of the convert equalled 
that of the teachers who for fifteen years had 
striven to lead him within the fold ; and his thank- 
offering consisted of a Saunas by which he trans- 
ferred to them the Dalada Maligawa,' the two great 
shrines at Kelaniya, and all the temple revenues in 
the Island, for the maintenance of the Colleges 
which they proposed to found. 

Had it been possible for the Franciscans to 
take advantage of the grant of Dharmapla to its 
full extent, it would have meant the destruction of 
the only organisation which existed for the spiritual 
and intellectual education of the people. It is difficult 
for a religious association to enjoy a position of 
influence for any considerable length of time without 
deteriorating from its original simplicity and virtue ; 
but the Buddhist priesthood had probably suffered 
less in this respect than the bulk of the similar 
associations which the world has seen. It is true 
that Buddhism looked on the distinctions of caste 
with some degree of disfavour ; but in the sixteenth 
century the priesthood was closed except to those 
of the highest caste. Vowed to poverty and chastity, 

Education in Ceylon 79 

its members received semi-royal honours from the 
people, as with their yellow robe so draped as to 
expose the right arm and chest, and veiling their 
faces with a fan, they went from door to door 
silently begging for their one simple daily meal. 

In every group of villages there rose the 
Vihara, small and retired, or as sometimes with a 
towering snowy-white dagoba and imposing gateway.' 
The Sinhalese had a keen eye for the beauties of 
Nature, and all their poets give expression in their 
songs to that appreciation. Every commanding spot 
was utilised for the purposes of worship. Beneath 
it would be the great tank, the very source of life 
for the village— a hundred acres of lotus— pink and 
white, with here and there blue— scenting the air 
with its rich and wholesome fragrance for a mile 
around. The water-fowl would splash lazily in the 
cool of the evening, confident in the security which 
no one would disturb. And as the great full moon 
rose in the heavens, etherealising everything with 
its radiance, the villagers would come forth joyously 
with their offerings of sweet-smelling flowers— men 
and women and children all dressed in spotless 
white— to renew their vows as before the Bo tree at 
Anuradha Pura. That was the one innocent break 
from his round of toil in the life of the villager; 
for he did not touch intoxicants, and had no tavern 
where he could meet his fellows of an evening. 

Every morning the children would troop to 
the Pansala, where the priest resided, to be taught 
their letters; for love of learning has always been 
inherent in the Oriental. There they would be taught, 
without fee or payment, to trace the characters of 
the alphabet on sand till they knew enough to be 
entrusted with an iron style wherewith to inscribe 
sentences, like strings of rounded pearls, on strips 
of palm-leaf. As they advanced in years they learned 
to compose verse, with the same sedulous care with 

80 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

which Hexameters are fashioned at Oxford or Cam- 
bridge. The great institutions at Totagamuwa and 
Keragala long maintained the traditions brought over 
from the Universities of India; and in the next 
century, though these institutions had ceased to 
exist, the learning to be found in Ceylon was still 
recognized by the Portuguese in India.'" 

Dharmapala was but a helpless puppet in the 
hands of his spiritual advisers, who now applied 
themselves with reckless ardour to the task of 
pulling down the structure which it had taken twenty 
centuries to erect. It is impossible to entertain any 
doubt as to the genuineness of the feeling which 
animated the now triumphant missionaries, or the 
absolute conviction under which they acted; unfor- 
tunately their impulses were the result not of reasoned 
beUef but of impassioned ignorance. Vasco da Gama 
had worshipped at Hindu shrines under the idea 
that he had discovered a new branch of the Catholic 
Church; but the missionary could see in Buddhism 
nothing but the abhorrent creation of the devil. He 
did not stop to inquire what were the principles 
which were taught by its Sages, nor what the ideals 
after which its lofty philosophy struggled ; Buddhism 
was not Christianity, and since by Christianity alone 
could souls escape damnation and hell fire, it was 
his duty to God to destory Buddhism by every 
means in his power. He did not ask whether the 
people were prepared to receive his new wine, or 
whether the destruction of their ancient beliefs might 
not mean the destruction of all spiritual life ; his 
every idea was centred on the one thought that 
Buddhism must be wiped out of existence. In these 
circumstances it is not surprising that the rash 
action of Dharmapala was viewed with the greatest 
alarm by his subjects. A few of his great nobles 
followed his example, and biblical names were soon 

Denationalisation 81 

the fashion in the Sinhalese Court, the highest 
dignitaries of which at the same time assumed the 
title of Dom ; whilst the language and manners of 
the Portuguese were rapidly adopted among those 
who desired to continue in favour with the power 
which controlled patronage. As a result of all this 
a cleavage and estrangement, more deadly than any 
that had ever risen out of the institution of caste, 
began to creep in among the Sinhalese. 



1. The pardao was originally a golden coin from the native 
mints of West India ; and the name, which is a corruption 
of the Sanskrit pratapa, was subsequently applied to a Por- 
tuguese silver coin of degenerating value, and nominally 
of 370 reis. 

2. This work, which appears to have been compiled towards 
the end of the XVIIth century, is the best Sinhalese 
authority for the Portuguese period in Ceylon. 

3. The Jesuit, Emanuel de Morales, writing from Colombo 
on the 28th of November 1552, has left the following 
account of his countrymen in Ceylon : "The most wicked 
vices reigned supreme in the Island, and men were given 
to lewdness and to lust . . . There were more women of 
bad life than honest matrons. In fact women were worse 
than men in this regard, and these vices had become so 
habitual that they did not even seem to look upon them 
as sins. " — The Ceylon Antiquary, I., 223. 

4. His work, Asia Portuguesa, is in Spanish, and was 
published in three volumes at Lisbon, in 1666-1675. 

5. He was baptised as Dom Joao and was sent to Lisbon, 
where under the narie of the Prince of Ceylao he was a 
popular figure at Court, and received the precedence of a 
Conde. He later returned to Goa and married a Portuguese 

6. Diogo de Couto, born at Lisbon in 1543, appointed 
Guardian of the Torre do Tombo in 1595; died in India 
on 10th December 1616. 

7. The five-hued effulgence which was believed to emanate 
from the body of the Buddha. Regarding this Dr. John 
Davy, M. D., F. R. S., brother of Sir Humphrey Davy, 
who was in Ceylon from 1816 till 1820, has written the 
following : 

"There is a pecular phenomenon occasionally seen in 
the heaven in the Interior that is deserving of notice. In 
January 1820 it was witnessed in Kandy, and byEuiopean 
gentlemen as well as by natives. One of the former, a 
most respectable individual in whose account I could put 
the firmest reliance, described it to me as an appearance 
of rays or beams of light in motion, intersecting one 


another, faintly resembling the northern lights. It occurred 
when the atmosphere was clear, in the middle of the day 
The natives call it Boodhoo rais." 

8. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre took the place of 
the Maligawa, and the bell of the Church, with its Latin 
invocation to the Virgin, is to-day a prominent feature in 
the Pettah of Colombo. 

9. Father Morales has the following regarding the Temples. 
"Some of these are more splendid than the most splendid 
Churches of Lisbon, though the buildings are not so high 
nor so beautiful, yet everything seems covered with pure 
gold. I once entered a pagoda which impressed me more 
than anything I had seen in Portugal or Castille, in both 
of which I have seen many a magnificent building." Cey. 
Ant. L 224. 

10. It is difficult to say what was the condition of female 
education in Ceylon at this time, but the Kusa Jataka 
(see Index) makes it clear that fifty years later highborn 
ladies were able to read with ease Sanskrit and Pali, in 
addition to their own language. 


Mayadunna was quick to take advantage of the 
mistake which his grand-nephew had committed ; he 
now presented himself as the champion of the national 
faith, and laid claim to the Lion Throne on the 
ground of the apostasy of the present occupant. 
Serious rioting occurred within the Capital itself, and 
the King was stoned by an excited mob, which only 
dispersed when the Portuguese opened fire upon it. 
Thirty Buddhist priests, whose persons were regarded 
as sacro-sanct, were arrested and punished, and this 
unprecedented act of sacrilege filled the people with 
such horror that several of the most prominent 
inhabitants of Kotte fled to Sitawaka ; while Mayadunna 
threw his armies into the great Province or Disawani 
of Matara, which extended from the neighbourhood 
of Kotte to the Walawe Ganga. So serious was the 
outlook that the veteran Affonco Pereira was hurriedly 
despatched from Goa to the assistance of Dharma- 
pala, and only his vigorous exertions saved the 
Capital from the armies of Mayadunna. 

In May 1559 Dom Jorge de Meneses Baroche suc- 
ceeded him in the command, and was able to drive back a 
small army which was advancing under Wikramasinha 
Mudaliyar. Raja Sinha, however, hastened up in 
person and a powerful body of expert target-men, 
supported by elephants and cavalry and the bravest 
soldiers of Aturugiri Korale and Koratota, were 
hurled at the Portuguese. The great tract of low land 
lying between Mulleriyawa and Kaduwela, twelve miles 
from Colombo, which is yearly enriched by the alluvial 

Battle of Mulleriyaiva 85 

deposits left by the Kelani Ganga when swollen with 
the monsoon rains, was this day the scene of a 
terrible fight. Raja Sinha himself attacked the 
Portuguese in front, while the Koratota and Hewa- 
gama Arachchis took them in the rear. The carnage 
was terrible, but though the Sinhalese were mown 
down by the firearms of their opponents, they still 
pressed on reckless of life, clinging to the tails of 
the elephants in their efforts to get within striking 
distance of the enemy. In the thickest of the fight 
was to be seen Raja Sinha on his horse, command- 
ing, exhorting, encouraging his men by word and 
deed. "The battle was like a show of fireworks and 
the smoke from the discharge of the muskets resem- 
bled mists in early Duruta. ^ Blood flowed like water 
on the field of Mulleriyawa. The Portuguese were 
attacked in such wise that not one foot could they 

At last the Portuguese turned in flight. De 
Meneses seized the Banner of Christ which they 
were abandoning and tried to rally his men round 
it, but his voice was lost in the din of the battle. 
Raja Sinha, perceiving that victory was in his grasp, 
pursued them vigorously as they fled across the 
field towards a narrow passage in the line of their 
i-etreat. This they found already occupied by the 
Sinhalese who had blocked the way by cutting down 
trees, and here as they laboured desperately to clear 
the road they were brought to a stand. The war 
elephants were now thundering down upon them, 
and one of the beasts rushed at de Meneses with 
uplifted trunk as he again tried to rally his men, 
but a fortunate shot turned it back and he had 
time to escape. The elephant Viradareya— the Mighty 
of Strength— hurled the Ensign Luis de Lacerda 
through the air and captured the Banner of Christ, 
but still the Portuguese fought on with teeth and 
nails, for their pow^der was now exhausted. Their 

86 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

complete destruction seemed assured, when a soldier 
fired a berco ^ which they were abandoning right into 
the midst of the men who crowded round the passage, 
with fearful effect. The Sinhalese opened out their 
ranks and gave the Portuguese an opportunity of 
reaching the river and getting on board the vessels 
which were waiting there. Only a demoralised and 
weary handful succeeded in reaching the camp, where 
de Meneses threw himself on the ground, cursing 
himself in the depth of his despair. 

Raja Sinha now erected strong forts at Kaduwela 
and Rakgaha Watta, to control the roads from 
Colombo, and the Portuguese, who had obtained 
reinforcements from India, determined to re-establish 
their lost prestige by an attack on the latter. The 
result was disastrous, and once again their demora- 
lised men turned and fled, hotly pursued right up 
to the suburbs of Colombo by Wikramasinha, who 
returned in triumph on the back of a Portuguese 
prisoner. A fresh army was ready in India, but the 
Portuguese, instead of concentrating their energies 
on the urgent task of reducing Mayadunna, wasted 
their forces in a futile endeavour to punish the Raja 
of Jaffna. The Viceroy himself, the princely Dom 
Constantino de Braganza, led a great expedition 
against him in October 1560, and returned after 
securing little beyond the Tooth which had been 
found with Widiye Bandara. The price paid for this, 
in men and treasure, was very heavy, and the King 
of Pegu was willing to ransom it for a large amount. 
The Viceroy's Councillors urged that the King's offer 
should be accepted, but de Braganza, in deference 
to the wishes of his clerical advisers, directed that 
the alleged relic should be reduced to powder and 
burnt, and the ashes cast into the sea. 

In the meanwhile Raja Sinha was unfalteringly 
pressing on his course. Guerilla bands following each 
other in quick succession, ravaged the rich and 

Siege of Kotte 87 

populous district which fed the Capital. Their rapidity 
of movement bewildered the Portuguese, whose 
energies were wasted in warding off the threats 
aimed alternately at Kotte and Colombo. More than 
once they were driven back in headlong flight, and 
it was soon clear that they were helpless to afford 
any effective protection to Dharmapala's subjects. 
Indeed so closely was Kotte blockaded, that after 
devouring the King's elephants, the Portuguese were 
forced to have recourse to cannibalism ; while their 
anxieties were greatly increased by the disaffection 
which prevailed within the walls, where there was 
an influential section which favoured surrender. But 
the leaders held grimly on till at last Raja Sinha's 
men returned to Sitawaka. The relief however was 
not for long, and in October 1564 he appeared once 
again with his army before the walls of Kotte, and 
proceeded to lay it under close siege, till on the 
12th of February 1565 a determined attempt was 
made to carry the place by storm. Raja Sinha in 
person commanded the attack at Periya Kotte, and 
after a fierce conflict some of his men succeeded in 
crossing the water on bamboo rafts and effecting an 
entrance. But at last by efforts which were super- 
human —for the Portuguese declared that the Virgin 
and St, Joseph were seen fighting in their ranks— 
the defenders within the walls succeeded in forcing 
them to withdraw. The Portuguese had in the mean- 
time been negotiating with Karalliyadda, who now 
made a timely demonstration on the borders of 
Sitawaka, and thus compelled Raja Sinha, disappointed 
though he was, to hurry to meet this danger. 

The Indian Government now decided that the 
continued maintenance of Kotte as the Metropolis was 
detrimental to the interests of the Portuguese, as it 
only served to divert their forces. The position of 
Colombo on the coast where it could always be 
reached from India, pointed to it as more suitably 

88 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

for the seat of the central authority. Diogo de Melo 
Coutinho was therefore sent as Captain of Colombo 
with orders to dismantle Jayawardhana Kotte and 
to transfer the Court, population, and artillery to 
Colombo. This was done in July 1565, to the great 
grief of the Sinhalese. Their ancient Capital was 
abandoned to the wild beasts, and a hundred years 
later elephants were being hunted on the site of its 
ruined palaces. Its granite columns have been 
removed to beautify the country houses of Dutch 
officials, or to buttress tottering bridges on the public 
roads ; and today the villager stealthily digs up 
the cabook stones over which his forefathers so 
freely shed their blood, to make a foundation for 
his fragile hut^ 

The kingdom of Kotte now ceased to exist, 
and Mayadunna was the undisputed lord of all the 
Sinhalese country except the Kanda Uda Rata and 
the area dominated by the guns of the Colombo 
Fort. A strong garrison at Wattala prevented the 
Portuguese from moving northward across the Kelani 
Ganga. Another at Nagalagama, almost within 
sight of the Fort, made impossible any movement 
in the direction of Sitawaka. A third force on the 
great plain of Mapane to the South of Colombo cut 
them off from Matara. The Portuguese were help- 
less, and it was only by the exertions of the Muda- 
liyars who still followed the fortunes of Dharmapala 
that they were kept supplied with provisions. From 
time to time a raiding expedition swept the food from 
the neighbouring villages into the Fort, but Raja Sinha 
was too busy reorganising for a great undertaking 
his father's military forces to allow himself to be 
disturbed by them. 

In 1568 Dom Sebastiao, though only in his 
fifteenth year, was declared to be of age and took 
over the administration from the Cardinal. The 
growing power of the Mohammedans, who three years 

Munnessaram 89 

previously, in 1565, had destroyed the Hindu Empire 
of Vijayanagara, was distracting the attention of the 
authorities at Goa, and they were unable to spare 
any assistance for Colombo. In 1570 a Mohammedan 
army laid siege to Goa itself, and it was only after ten 
months of the fiercest struggle that the invaders were 
compelled to retire. A series of Captains succeeded one 
another at Colombo, but not one of them was able 
to take any effective action. Colombo offered little 
opportunity for building up a reputation or amassing 
a fortune, and the Captains tried to make up for 
their disappointment by begging for loans from the 
unfortunate Dharmapala. 

At length in 1574 Diogo de Melo arrived with 
a sufficient force to enable him to take the field, 
and swiftly-moving bodies were soon ravaging every 
village which had a temple with a reputation for 
wealth, and which could be reached without fear of 
being intercepted by Mayadunna's commanders. The 
famous shrine at Kelaniya was destroyed ; the port 
of Negumbo was plundered; the garrison at Nagalagama 
was driven out ; and the coast towns of Kalutara 
and Beruwala devastated. In the course of the fol- 
lowing year one plundering expedition pushed its 
way as far south as Weligama. Another force sent 
out with a similar object ravaged the district of 
Chilaw, after which it made its way to the ancient 
and revered shrine of Munnessaram, one of the five 
Isparam or Residences of Siva in Ceylon. This temple 
is said to have been founded by Rama Chandra, the 
Avatar of Vishnu, himself, after the defeat of Ravana. 
Its Lingam, the emblem of the God, was a great 
cylinder of stone of the height of a man, and like 
the Diana of the Ephesians, was believed to have 
fallen from heaven. Numerous inscriptions there 
bore testimony to the wealth which the devotion of 
successive Kings had dedicated to its service, and 


90 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

its separate domain comprised 62 villages to which 
it gave its name. Much plunder was anticipated and 
the Portuguese pressed on eagerly. The Sinhalese 
force which blocked the way was driven back with 
the loss of its commander, and the temple sacked. 

Laden with spoil the Portuguese turned back 
towards Colombo. Mapane was devastated with 
relentless fury, and the beautiful Vihare at Horana 
destroyed. An attempt was also made to surprise 
the Dewale* at Nawagomuwa, where a festival was 
being celebrated; but one of Raja Sinha's Arachchis 
seized the road and frustrated it, though the gallant 
Arachchi himself and three hundred of his men 
sacrificed their lives in the struggle. 

In the meantime a horrible incident had 
occurred at Colombo. An attempt had been made to 
poison Dharmapala, while he sat at dinner with the 
Captain, by drugging his wine. On tasting it the 
King had fallen to the ground, and though restora- 
tives were hastily applied and his life was saved, 
he remained toothless and a stammerer. There can 
be little doubt that the Captain had been bribed to 
destroy the King. Familiar though the Portuguese 
were both with bribery and with poisoning, 
the popular clamour which this shameful attempt 
against the unfortunate monarch evoked was so 
pronounced, that in October 1577 the Viceroy was 
compelled to remove De Melo from office and to 
order an inquiry. The Captain was despatched 
to Goa under arrest ; but on the way, harassed by 
anxiety and illness, goaded to despair by the pangs 
of a conscience which tormented him, and haunted by 
the fear of a shameful death, the unhappy man 
breathed his last, ending pitifully what had been a 
brilliant career. 

Mayadunna was now feeling the weight of his 
years. He realised that the military operations against 
the Portuguese necessitated more activity of 

Mayadunna abdicates 91 

body than he was capable of, and in Raja Sinha he 
found a general who could be relied on efficiently 
to fill his place. Adopting the self-sacrificing custom 
which had long been in usage amongst the Sinha- 
lese Kings, he in May 1578 with the consent of his 
subjects renounced the throne in favour of his son. 

On the 4th of August of this same year was 
fought the great battle of Alcacer Quibir in Morocco, 
in which the dreamy and youthful Dom Sebastiao 
fell together with 9000 of his men, while 8000 
more remained prisoners in the hands of the victor- 
ious Moors. This defeat proved a death-blow to the 
imperial aspirations of Portugal, and indeed the end 
of her own independence was not far off. Dom 
Sebastiao was succeeded by his uncle the Cardinal 
Dom Henrique, a feeble old man and a fanatical 
religionist of sixty-five, who had to be supported up 
the steps of the throne which he was destined to 
occupy but for a few brief months. 

Raja Sinha lost no time in putting his newly 
acquired authority to the test. In the following year 
he laid siege to Colombo with a large army, but in 
spite of all his efforts, the garrison successfully main- 
tained their resistance till in February 1581 Matthias 
de Alboquerque, subsequently Viceroy of India, arrived 
with a large force and compelled him to withdraw. 
On his way back to Sitawaka Raja Sinha received 
the news of the death of Mayadunna at the age of 
eighty years, and thus at length found himself 
unhampered in the execution of his plans for the 
entire subjugation of the Kingdom of Kotte. 

Meanwhile an event of the most serious import 
had taken place in Colombo. On the 12th of August 
1580 Dharmapala had, on the advice of the Francis- 
cans, executed a deed of gift by which, after setting 
forth his own title to the Throne, and recounting 
how the hostility of Mayadunna and Raja Sinha had 

92 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

robbed him of everything save Colombo, he made 
over all his claims to Dom! Henrique. This was 
perhaps the one shrewd act of this unhappy King 
during the long years of his nominal reign. Dom 
Henrique himself had, however, died seven months 
before, and with him had ended the great House of 
Aviz. Very little remained out of the Kingdom which 
that House had built up. The Treasury was empty; 
the public service was seething with peculation and 
corruption; and the drain towards India and Brazil 
of the country's manhood, culminating in the loss 
of the flower of what still remained in the fatal 
battle of Alcacer Quibir, had so affected the popu- 
lation, that few were left except slaves, priests and 
beggars. The Crown of Portugal fell to Philip II of 
Spain, who on the 15th of April 1581 swore to the condi- 
tions which were meant to preserve the individuality 
and maintain the interests of Portugal, and was 
proclaimed King as Philip I. Under these conditions 
Portugal was to have a Viceroy who was to be a native 
of the country. All offices within the Kingdom and the 
Indian trade were reserved to the Portuguese, while 
the revenue was to be kept distinct from that of 
Spain and spent for the benefit of Portugal only. 
Thus began the Sixty Years' Captivity, as the period 
of the Spanish domination of Portugal was called. 
Meanwhile Raja Sinha had turned his attention to 
the Uda Rata, and in 1582 thirty thousand veterans 
of the Portuguese wars appeared before Balane, 
the mountain stronghold which commands the gate 
of the central plateau. Karalliyadda's army, which 
was supported by a few Portuguese, was driven 
back after a sanguinary struggle, and the capital 
was occupied, Wirasundara Mudiyanse being placed 
in charge of it. Karalliyadda himself fled to Trin- 
comalee where together with most of his family 
he fell a victim to an outbreak of smallpox, his 
infant daughter, who was at the time but one year 

Kanda Uda Rata 93 

old, being left in the care of his nephew Jama 
Sinha Bandar, who made his way to Jaffna and 
sought protection from the Tamil King. 

Wirasundara, however, was not satisfied with 
his position and seized an early opportunity to 
revolt; but his treachery was met with treachery 
and he was trapped to his death, while the punish- 
ment inflicted on the rebellious districts was both 
swift and severe. The Sitawaka army rapidly over- 
ran the country, disarming all the disaffected, and 
reducing a large number of the inhabitants to slavery. 
The remainder were compelled to render service 
without payment, and were put to the most arduous 
labours in erecting the earthworks of Raja Sinha's 
fortifications, so that for several years to come there 
was no fear of any hostile movement from that 
quarter. Wirasundara's son Konappu fled to Colombo 
where he was hospitably received by Dharma- 
pala, who gave him the daughter of Sembahap 
Perumal in marriage. 

A few years of uneasy peace followed, while Raja 
Sinha was busily engaged in strengthening his posi- 
tion, by removing with unhesitating resolution all 
disaffected persons from his path. In 1583 Joao 
Correa de Brito succeeded Manoel de Sousa as 
Captain in Colombo, and on the 4th of November 
of the same year Dharmapala executed another 
instrument, ratifying in favour of King Philip the 
donation of 1580, and disinheriting all his kinsmen 
who should after his death lay claim to the Throne. 
Upon the completion of the instrument the populace 
was summoned to the palace, where the document 
was explained to them and they were invited to 
appoint proctors authorised to approve of the King's 
nomination. Three such were elected, and they on 
behalf of the King's subjects accepted Philip II as 
the heir of Dharmapala, waiving all the right vested 

94 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

in the people to nominate and elect a King on the 
death of the occupant of the Throne. 

Raja Sinha's aims were, however, well known 
and his armies were even then hovering about and 
cutting off supplies. The condition of the garrison 
was wretched in the extreme, and so scarce had 
food become that the soldiers could with difficulty- 
be restrained from abandoning their posts. Their 
wages were allowed to fall into arrears, and they 
had hardly the necessary clothes with which to cover 
their nakedness. The remittances received from Goa 
were irregular in arrival, and were conveyed at great 
risk in consequence of the pirates who infested the 
Indian waters. Meanwhile Raja Sinha's position was 
daily becoming stronger ; he had achieved some 
measure of sea power, and more than once his 
vessels made descents on Manar. To meet the 
growing menace from Raja Sinha, the Portuguese 
hit upon the expedient of attempting to create dis- 
affection at Court. Some of the Royal Princes were 
inveigled into a treasonable correspondence with the 
object of raising a revolt against the King ; strange 
to say the priests, who had till now found staunch 
supporters in Mayadunna and Raja Sinha, were also 
attracted into the conspiracy. Fortunately, however, 
the plot was discovered in time. The guilty parties 
were punished with terrible severity. The Princes 
were put to death, one of them committing suicide 
by taking poison ; while the Chief Priest was stoned 
and cut in pieces. Tradition indeed says that this 
last and his followers were buried up to their necks 
in the earth, and had their heads ploughed off. 

It was this treachery which embittered Raja 
Sinha against Buddhism and made him virulently 
hostile to the priesthood. They found him "like 
unto a serpent full of poison when it is beaten with 
a stick. . . He embraced heresy and became like 
unto a thorn in the path of Continued Existence."* 

The SriPada 95 

Many of the priests disrobed themselves and others 
fled to the Uda Rata, while the King deprived the 
more important temples of the villages from which 
they derived their revenues. An even more severe 
blow was dealt when he proceeded to remove the 
Buddhists from the control of one of the most 
venerated spots in the East, the Sacred Foot Print. 

As the voyager approaches the Island from Europe, 
the most prominent feature which catches his eye at 
early dawn is the graceful Peak of Samanala Kanda, 
rising 7352 feet above the level of the sea over the 
billowy masses of snow-white clouds. On its summit 
may be seen a depression fashioned roughly like a 
human foot, and long before the Sinhalese race 
arrived in the Island, this, the Sri Pada, was an 
object of worship among innumerable human beings. 
The Hindus saw in it the impress of Siva ; the 
Buddhists declared that Gautama himself left this 
for his perpetual memorial ; while the Arabs worshipped 
it as the foot print of Adam, who found conso- 
lation in Ceylon for the loss of Paradise. Thousands 
of pilgrims climbed the steep ascent every March 
and April, being assisted on their way by the iron 
chains which Marco Polo says had been presented 
to the shrine by Alexander the Great. Many nation- 
alities and many religions met at the summit, towards 
which the neighbouring peaks appeared to bow in 
reverence, and there celebrated their rites in peace 
and friendship. This august shrine the indignant 
Raja Sinha now placed in the charge of the ash- 
daubed Indian fakirs ; even today the priests have 
not forgiven him this insult. 

Raja Sinha was now at the height of his power, 
and the Sinhalese everywhere, except the handful 
round the walls of Colombo who still remained faithful 
to Dharmapala, acknowledged him as their King. 
All eyes were turned on Sitawaka, and for the first 
time since the death of Sri Rahula patriotism and 

96 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

pride in the doings of their race brought forward a 
poet, in the person of Alagiyawanna Mukewetti. 

A prose literature, consisting mainly of Com- 
mentaries on the Buddhist Scriptures, existed among the 
Sinhalese before the beginning of the Christian Era, 
and to this were later added some historical works 
which were made use of by Mahanamo in the 
compilation of his Mahawansa. This last was written 
in Pali, a language which holds among the Buddhist 
priesthood the same position as that which latin 
occupies in the Church of Rome. King Buddhadasa in 
"'-ie fourth century composed a medical treatise in 
■ iskrit, and King Kumaradas two centuries Later 
was the author of a poetical work in the same 
language. It is known that several poets, whose 
productions were held in esteem, lived about the 
period of this latter King; but none of their works 
survive to-day, though there are good examples of 
the prose of the time. 

The three hundred and fifty years which followed 
the accession to the Throne of Parakrama Bahu the 
Great, were adorned by the works of a series of 
writers several of whom hav^ always been consid- 
ered, F I can justly claim to be, of the first rank. 
The n\K. . prominent among them were priests, as 
was natural in a state of civilisation where every 
temple a '^s also a school ; but even they did not 
"onfine tl "^^elves to religion and philosophy, as 
fi;,;^t ha' ,r -'^-n expected from their dissoc'^ion 
«t ana i.^' folio weicscts; the nistrrv, medicin ^^^^"- 
.i the earth, and h.try • "ye bee I'ched b , 

_ u- ' reward of h 

: It was this reading public, bu. "^*^tered P-\nd 

^mha agamst Bur^couragement was r. . '.r^ g. nJita 

fetile to the prj ^^g ^^^^ ^j^^j^ ^ Sinhalese Maecenas ; 

jfi a serpent ^^g^if ^ scholar whose religious 

^K. He < g^-jj JjqJjJ ^g j^jgj^ 3 rank as his poetic 

^ norn r 

Sinhalese Literature 97 

Literature reached its high water mark in 
the productions of Sri Rahula. He was the chief 
exponent of the use of rhyme, which in his day 
began to displace the blank verse which had hitherto 
been the fashion. The greatness of his literary 
influence is proved by the numbers of his country- 
men who still adopt his poems as their model, and 
to every Sinhalese his Kaviya Sekara is what it calls 
itself, the Crown of Song. 

It is not unusual for Europeans to sneer at the 
poetry of the Sinhalese; and yet it is not possible 
to point to one European who can be accepted as 
a competent critic. Certain blemishes are inde^id 
obvious, but they are not such as to destroy ^ 
excellences ; and for perfect melody of sound, beauty 
of imagery, richness of language, and intense appre- 
ciation of Nature, the Kaviya Sekara is difficult to 
surpass. Sinhalese poetry has not yet been placed 
before the Western world ; is it too much to hope 
that one of the Universities of the West will some 
day train the Sinhalese youth who will adequately 
interpret his countrymen in the English tongue ? 

Sri Rahula and his group of brilliant contem- 
poraries—for he w?- only the most brilliant of a 
brilliant group— were all dead at the ti e of the 
arrival of the Portuguese, and the first venty-five 
years of the sixteenth century proved singularly 
barren in literary results. It is not sunrising that 
during this unhappy period of internp le warfare, 
/'^ en the power of the Sinhalese -eing s^ ' ly 

dau 't-oyed and. foreign influ", '^f ^' • ' -^■^' he 
not ,/'*idencv. r- Court, ther?^ ^^^ priests have ^^ 

tT- c;- 1. iman 'of lette f 

•'^. ^^^' iwever, struck a ri's^t of his power, j 
"th* *(LH:'t—ts'^j^>Alagiya wanna, the ?^ the handful . 
learned Dharmadwaja Pandita. Th'mained faithful i 
son, indeed, has secured for him a^ their Ki'^ ie 
his native country such as the fatht^ for \) ^^. 

iQ triotis- ' 

98 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

his name was well-known in India when in the 
middle of the XVIIth century Jean Baptiste Taver- 
nier, Baron of Aubonne, went to sell his diamonds 
and pearls at the Court of the great Mogul. 

The Sevul Sandesaya was probably the earliest 
of Alagiyawanna's works; and though it shows no 
originality of conception, and is a polished specimen 
of composition rather than a poem, yet it is of 
great value for the glimpse it affords of the Court 
of Raja Sinha as it presented itself to one who had 
access to it. The poet is at Sitawaka , and sends 
his message or Sandesaya to the God who was 
worshipped at Saparagamuwa, invoking his protec- 
tion for the religion of Buddha, and for the King, 
his Council and his army. The message is entrusted 
to the Sevula or cock, and the opportunity is taken 
to describe the sights which meet the messenger's 
eye as it proceeds on its way. Raja Sinha himself 
is shown on his throne, giving audience to ambas- 
sadors from foreign Courts. "Glory, Liberality and 
Truth he cherished ; second to them he held his life." 
The ambassadors display presents of silk and cam- 
phor and musk, sandalwood and pearl, while the Court 
bards sing the King's praises. Beautiful maidens 
stand behind the throne and fan the King with the 
Royal fan, the tail of the great Himalayan Yak ; the 
Princes, victors in many a fight, and the gallant warriors 
of India who have lent their swords to the King, 
make obeisance at his feet, and are followed by the 
Ministers, "who watch over the people as over their 
own eyes, skilled in law to decide all tangled suits." 
In the courtyard are assembled the choicest of the 
royal troops, and the Wanniyan chiefs, who rule the 
wild country between the Uda Rata and the Jaffna 
Kingdom, are present with their tribute of elephants. 
The Bhairawa Kovil has been repaired after the 
devastation of 1551, and in its great hall, the walls of 
which are frescoed in rich colours with scenes 

The Sinhalese Army 99 

from the Ramayana, the dancing women move their 
graceful limbs to the rhythm of the Tamil music. 
In the main street or Vitiya is the Court House, 
where justice is administered "without affection or 
ill-will, ignorance or fear." There is also a quarter 
of the city devoted to music and dancing halls, and 
other recreations for the people, and in its neigh- 
bourhood are the royal elephant stalls, and a great 
caravanserai erected for the use of the public by 
Wikramasinha Mudiyanse. 

Ceylon was a small field in which to train a 
General to meet the finest troops of Europe, for 
Portugal had sent her very best to the East. Yet 
the native talent of the Sinhalese Chief and the 
whole resources of Sinhalese civilisation were to be 
matched against the science of the West, in a struggle 
which was to decide whether Oriental or Occidental 
was to be supreme in Ceylon. An armed camp was 
established at Biyagama, ten miles from Colombo. 
The forts at Nagalagama, Kaduwela and Rakgaha- 
watta protected it against any surprise attack from 
Colombo, and the broad Kelani River which flowed 
past it not only provided a safe and easy means 
of getting in touch with the enemy, but also served 
to bring to it materials of war in unlimited quantity. 
The services of every feudal tenant throughout the 
country were requisitioned. Ingots of the finest steel 
poured in from the villages of the Yamanoo whose 
service it was to smelt the ore. Relays of smiths 
toiled to convert these into crowbars and axes, arm- 
ed with which the woodcutters proceeded to the 
forest-clad mountain slopes adjoining the stream, down 
to the bed of which the great logs which they felled 
were dragged by two thousand of the King's elephants. 
There the logs were lashed together into immense 
rafts on a foundation of thousands of the buoyant 
golden-coloured bamboos which grew by the water's 
edge, and secured by great lengths of stout cane. 

100 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

These rafts travelled rapidly down stream till they 
reached Biyagama, where they were moored unbroken 
to the bank. 

The 1900 royal villages also sent their whole store 
of rice on the backs of the transport oxen which 
it was part of their service to maintain. Stacks of 
the dried branches of the Palmyra palm were prepared 
to serve as tents. Four hundred blacksmiths were 
employed in the manufacture of billhooks, mattocks, 
and, not least important, a vast quantity of arrow- 
heads. The carpenters too were busy fashioning the 
timbers for the stockades and the ponderous siege 
engines. A hundred and fifty pieces of bronze 
artillery were cast, the majority of them gingals 
supported on a light wooden frame consisting of two 
legs in front, and a long curved handle behind ; and 
such as a pair of men could carry. Matchlocks also 
were prepared in large numbers; for the Sinhalese, 
as the Portuguese writers admit, soon excelled their 
teachers in the manufacture of these weapons. All 
hand-guns were fired with match-cord, for flint is not 
found in the Island. The animal accumulations of 
ages, fetched from the caves of Uwa, were utilised to 
obtain a supply of saltpetre, while sulphur was im- 
ported from Persia. Leaden bullets were cast in 
abundance, and an application was sent to Achim, 
the King of which country was at this time waging 
war on the Portuguese in Malacca, for further sup- 
plies of ammunition. The services of every Malay, 
Kaffir, and renegade Portuguese who could be secured 
to serve the artillery were purchased, while a select 
body of expert Indian warriors was collected as the 
personal guard of the King. The enthusiasm of Raja 
Sinha was infectious, and few Sinhalese to whom the 
summons came were found wanting. Not all in the 
great crowd which assembled at Biyagama were 
fighters ; but every member of it knew how to handle 
an axe or a spade with skill, and there was plenty 
of trench work to be done. 


1. The Sinhalese month corresponding to December-January. 

2. In 1525 among the guns used by the Portuguese wero 
Nags, Falcons, Camels, Lions, Serpents, Basilisks, Savage«, 
Culverins, Bombards, Pedreiros, Spheres, Roqueiros, Paasa- 
muros, Mortars and Bercos. 

3. It is distressing to think that while the Ceylon Govern- 
ment was spending lakhs of rupees in maintaining a Museum 
and an Archaeological Department, the very foundations of 
Dharmapala's Palace were being dug up and sold for build- 
ing material within six miles of Colombo. 

4. Dewala is a temple of the Hindu deities who are recognised 
by the Buddhists. 

5. Mahawansa. 


It was not unnatural that the Portuguese should 
view these preparations with the deepest apprehen- 
sion. De Brito accordingly sent an embassy with 
rich presents to the King, who was persuaded to 
agree to a short truce, which was prolonged by 
an attempt to poison him which just failed of 
success, ijrgent appeals for assistance were mean- 
while sent to Goa, and everything possible with 
the means at the disposal of the Portuguese was 
done to strengthen the fortifications of Colombo. 
All the plantations outside the walls which were 
likely to afford cover to the enemy were felled, 
use being made of the timber in the fortifications. 

On the North the town was protected by a 
rampart. The bastion of S. Thome, which stood at the 
north-western corner, was in a dilapidated condition ; 
and another bastion, named after S. Joao, was built 
at a spot closer to the Bay. This bastion was thirty 
feet high, and was connected with the Bay by a 
stout wall. The central bastion of S. Estevao, 
which was the most important on that side of the 
town, was mounted with the best artillery the 
defenders possessed, so as to command the neck of 
land between the Lake and the sea. Across this 
neck of land there ran a moat, and be- 
tween the moat and the ramparts a strong palisade 
was now constructed, to which was secured, to 
prevent the elephants from pulling out the beams, 
a row of unwieldy pada boats used for transporting 
heavy cargo on the river. Towers and sentry boxes 
were erected at intervals on the top of the wall 
which ended at the bastion of S. Sebastiao. Beyond 
that point the main defence consisted of the water 
of the lake, along the bank of which there was 

Siege of Colombo 103 

also a low wall strengthened by the bastions of 
S. Goncalo, S- Miguel, Nossa Senhora de Conceicao 
and others. 

At last Raja Sinha was ready, and a great 
army estimated at 50,000 men took the field. It 
was whispered, and probably not without reason, 
that human sacrifices had been offered to the awful 
divinities who control the destinies of war. ^ It is at 
least certain that images of gold were lavishly 
bestowed on their temples throughout the country, 
to secure their blessing on this undertaking. Crossing 
the Kelani river the Sitawaka army reached Demata 
Goda on the 4th of July 1587 and proceeded to 
entrench itself. The camp was soon strengthened 
by a broad moat and palisades, after which Raja 
Sinha resumed work upon the canal for draining 
the lake, which had been left unfinished at the 
conclusion of the last siege. This was pressed on 
till a layer of stone was reached v/hich defied all 
the efforts of the Sinhalese engineers. Raja Sinha 
was however equal to the occasion ; vinegar and 
sour milk were poured upon the rock, after which 
it was heated by means of large fires which were 
steadily maintained till the whole was pulverised. ^ 
In twenty days the canal had reached the lake, 
notwithstanding the desperate resistance of the gar- 
rison, who watched with terror as the level of the 
water gradually sank, till at last the armed boats 
maintained by the Portuguese on the Lake had to 
be beached. 

Raja Sinha now laid his plans for his first 
great assault on Colombo. 

Before dawn on the 4th of August the Sinhalese 
advanced to the walls. Three Mudaliyars commanded 
the three companies of elephants which went in 
the van to attack the bastions of S. Miguel, 
S. Goncalo, and S. Francisco. Behind the elephants 
came spearmen, the targe-bearers, the archers, and 

104 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

last of all the matchlock men. On the Lake, in 
which there still remained a little water, several 
rafts were placed, and so secured together as to 
form a floating platform which was loaded with 
men. The various detachments crept up to their 
posts in deep silence, betrayed only by their matches, 
which showed like a swarm of fireflies in the 

The alarm was raised; and as Raja Sinha's 
drums roared back their hoarse answer to the cries 
of the Portuguese, the Sinhalese dashed towards the 
walls with a shout, and planting their ladders began 
to clamber up them with amazing agility, while a 
body of sappers two thousand strong set to work 
to open a breach. But it was only for a moment. Volley 
after volley crashed out from above against the surging 
mass of the attackers, creating terrible havoc; and 
the cries and lamentations of the women and children 
in the crowded streets within increased the confusion. 
Soon too the elephants came up and began to tear 
down the walls with their trunks. Hand grenades 
were hurled at the elephants' heads, reinforcements 
were hurried to the rescue, and missiles of every 
kind were brought to bear on the soldiery thronging 
beneath the wall. Nevertheless the Sinhalese did not 
flinch, and de Brito, seeing how critical was the situation, 
dashed into the midst shouting out his name to 
encourage his men. 

At S. Goncalo the pressure was even greater. 
The arrows and the fire which the Sinhalese poured 
in through the embrasures could at length be faced 
no longer, and the Portuguese retired, scorched by 
the flame and blinded by the smoke. But even as 
the Sinhalese crowded up the ladders the Portuguese 
returned, and as each man reached the coping of 
the rampart, presented their spears at his breast. 
Where the Sinhalese succeeded in thrusting aside 
the spears, they were met by the swords of the 

An Assault 1G5 

defenders, which inflicted terrible wounds on their 
bare bodies. But as one fell another took his place, 
and the fight went on till the bastion became one 
blaze of fire. Once again the Portuguese drew back ; 
once again the flame was extinguished, and they 
returned to continue the struggle, guided by the 
light of the cressets which the forethought of their 
leaders had caused to be prepared. 

Time after time the elephants were nurled 
against the walls ; time after time they had to retire 
before the grenades and bullets, their shrill screams 
rousing terror in every heart even in the midst of 
that fearful din of battle. So for a full hour the 
assault lasted, till at last the Sitawaka men, exhausted 
with their efforts, fell back a distance of twenty 

Furious at this failure. Raja Sinha who was 
directing the operations gave the signal, five beats 
of the drum, for the whole army to engage. The 
men of his own guard, armed with breast-plates, 
head-pieces and morrions, and wielding their two- 
handed swords, charged recklessly towards the walls 
and the bastion of S. Goncalo, crying aloud their 
names and cutting down the spears of the Portuguese. 
At the same time the elephants once more advanced, 
and seized the artillery which was being discharged 
against them. So encumbered with corpses was the 
ground that the movements of the living were impeded. 
It was a titanic struggle. Sinhalese and foreigner 
alike, clasping each other in a close embrace, went 
whirling down to death, till at last on the bastions 
of S. Goncalo and S. Miguel the Standard of Raja 
Sinha was triumphantly unfurled over that appalling 
scene of blood and carnage, 

A feeling little short of despair now came 
over the garrison; but de Brito himself remained 
undaunted. Every available man was hurried to the 


i06 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

spot, and once more the struggle was renewed, and 
the Sinhalese army forced to retire before the splendid 
defence of the Portuguese. Again it rallied, and for 
the third time by the imperious command of Raja 
Sinha threw itself against the walls; again the 
brave Sinhalese, reckless of their lives, charged up 
to the very mouths of the Portuguese cannon; but 
the task was now recognised as an impossible one, 
and Raja Sinha in profound disappointment gave the 
signal for withdrawal. Colombo had been all but 
won, but the bravest troops of Europe stood behind 
the walls and guns which the bare-bodied Sinhalese 
had with such desperate valour tried to carry. 

Then the day dawned — "which was for our 
people a joy as great as comes, when the day breaks 
clear and serene, to those that in some storm 
thought themselves lost in the darkness of the 

Raja Sinha now betook himself once more to 
the tedious labour of a siege. The stockades were 
pushed up close under the walls, and at their 
corners wooden bastions were erected of a height 
sufficient to command those of the Fort. To meet this 
menace a lofty wooden platform on which guns were 
mounted was erected on S. Miguel, and deep trenches 
were opened to prevent the elephants from approach- 
ing the walls. At the same time urgent messages 
were sent to India entreating help, and stating that 
the garrison was at the last extremity. On the 20th 
of August another assault was attempted, under cover 
of which the Sinhalese vessels sailed out and tried 
to set fire to the magazine situated on the high 
ground to the West of the Fort ; but once again 
the Portuguese by desperate efforts succeeded in 
driving the enemy back. Three days later five 
vessels conveying men and munitions arrived from 
Cochin, and these were followed shortly afterwards 
by other vessels from the settlement of S. Thome 

A Stratagem 107 

and from Goa, reinforcements which raised the 
number of the Portuguese available for actual fighting 
to nearly a thousand. 

It was known that Raja Sinha was preparing a 
series of mines, but no information could be obtained of 
their whereabouts. A fortunate accident, however, led 
Thome de Sousa, who was in command at S. Joao, to 
discover a slit in the timbering of the mud wall which 
ran from S. Sebastiao along the shore of the lake, 
and peeping through this he descried opposite to 
him the mouth of a mine. The Captain was sum- 
moned in haste and a warm reception prepared for 
the Sinhalese. The wall was rapidly hollowed out 
to receive a camello, a thin curtain which could be 
pushed down at the critical moment being left on 
the outside. The gun itself was heavily charged 
with ball and stones. When everything was ready 
a few Lascarins were sent outside to serve as a bait, 
and before long the Sinhalese were thronging from 
every side, while the mine was filled with a closely 
packed crowd of men who poured out into the ditch. 
Seated astride the gun de Sousa watched through 
the slit for his opportunity. When at length the 
ditch was full of men, the camello was run out, 
breaking down the curtain by its own weight, and 
fired right into the mouth of the mine. The plan had 
been cleverly laid, and the effect of the cannonade 
was terrible. From end to end of the mine the 
stones and bullets swept, and not one out of the 
dense crowd within escaped alive. So great indeed 
was the havoc caused, that the King had the mine 
filled in over the bodies as they lay. 

On the 4th of October eighteen Sinhalese ships 
appeared off Colombo and engaged the Portuguese 
vessels in the harbour, which were under the com- 
mand of Thome de Sousa, now Captain Major of the 
Sea. Though the Sinhalese were unaccustomed to 

108 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

this kind of warfare, they maintained a gallant 
struggle, grappling with the enemy with great bold- 
ness, and it was only after four of their ships had 
been lost to them that they were forced to retreat. 
The Viceroy meanwhile spared no pains to collect 
what assistance he could in India for the relief of the 
beleaguered garrison. On the 4th of December a further 
body of a hundred and fifty soldiers with stores 
reached Colombo, bringing with them the welcome 
news'ithat a great expedition was in preparation, and 
that Manoel de Sousa Coutinho, whose defence of 
Colombo during the last siege had greatly enhanced 
his reputation, had been nominated for the command. 
This expedition was to be joined at Colombo by the 
fleet from Malacca, and the whole armament, com- 
prising the greater part of the forces at the disposal of 
the Portuguese Government in India, was to make 
the attempt finally to drive Raja Sinha from before 
Colombo. He on his side made more than one 
desperate assault on the Fort, but his efforts were 
in vain, for the increaped numbers of the Portugese 
had added greatly to their morale. Albeit plague had 
broken out within the crowded city, where the natural 
consequences of the prolonged confinement of a large 
population within a limited area had been aggravated 
by an excessive drought, lasting over a year, followed 
by the heavy rains of the north-east Monsoon. So 
numerous were the deaths that it was suspected that the 
wells from which the drinking water was obtained 
had been poisoned. 

News of the preparations which were being made 
to relieve Colombo now reached Raja Sinha, and he 
realised that further delay would be fatal to the success 
of his projects. Accordingly, on the 10th of January 
1588 an attempt, so carefully planned that the 
Sinhalese were not discovered till they had actually 
begun to ascend their scaling-ladders opposite 
S. Estevao, was made to carry the walls by surprise. 
Like the former attempts, however, it ended in 

The City of God 109 

failure. There followed a three days' bombard- 
ment of the bastions of S. Goncalo and S. Miguel, 
against which Raja Sinha had massed all his heavy 
artillery, including guns which threw iron balls weigh- 
ing forty-four pounds. The way having been prepared, 
a fierce assault was delivered on the 27th. The 
great war elephants were brought up to S. Goncalo, 
and a desperate attempt was made to batter down 
the walls. So fierce was the struggle that a wild 
rumour spread that the Sinhalese had entered the fort ; 
but the rumour proved to be false, and after two hours' 
fighting they were compelled to draw' back. 

The Portuguese now found themselves strong 
enough to assume the offensive, and Thome de Sousa 
sallied out of the harbour with ten vessels, bent on 
the congenial task of ravaging the southern coast. 
Kosgoda was burnt to the ground, and Madampe, 
verdant amidst the pleasant waters of its lake, was 
soon converted into a blackened waste. Near 
Madampe was the monastery where Sri Rahula had 
composed those melodious strains which are the 
delightful heritage of every Sinhalese, and the dewale 
of the mysterious Weragoda Deviyo, merchant-prince 
and divinity, whose golden treasures, lost in the 
seas, are still in stormy weather tossed up by the 
waves on the shores of Sinigama. Having reduced 
these to shapeless ruins, the expedition hurried on, 
past the rich temple village of Hikkaduwa and the 
haunted shores of Ratgama, to devote three days to 
sacking the ports of Galle and Weligama. Matara 
and Mirissa shared the same fate, after which the 
Portuguese re-embarked to proceed to the neighbour- 
ing Dewale of Dewundara. 

This famous shrine, founded according to tradi- 
tion in the year 790 A. D. in honour of a Red 
Sandalwood Image of Vishnu, was inferior in sanctity 
to the temple at Trincomalee alone. Its great roof 
of copper gilt flashing far out to sea served as a 

110 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

landmark for the mariners of every nation who sailed 
the Indian waters, and many a pious offering 
betokened their acknowledgment of the protecting influ- 
ence of the Divinity. The glory of this City of God^ 
had penetrated even to distant China, and numerous 
stone inscriptions at the spot testified to the devout 
zeal of the Emperors of that great country. Nearly 
250 years before, Ibn Batuta the Moorish traveller 
had visited the shrine and had found there a thou- 
sand Brahmins serving as the Ministers of the God. 
Kings too had vied with one another in beautifying 
the place and adding to its wealth, and its annual 
Fair ranked amongst the most important in the East. 
The vast precincts of the temple, where dwelt the 
attendants of the God, resembled a small town ; the 
skill of its silversmiths, a special colony imported 
from the neighbouring continent, shed lustre on the 
art of the entire Disawani of Matara ; and every 
night 500 women danced and sang before the Image. 

Greedy for the plunder of this rich temple, 
the Portuguese sailed thither, in spite of the tempest- 
uous seas which the god appeared to have sent for 
the protection of his shrine. There was little or no 
opposition to their landing, and the city and temple 
were found deserted. The images, of which there 
were over a thousand, were soon broken to pieces ; 
the processional car of the god, a great lacquered 
and gilt structure of seven stages, was reduced to 
ashes ; the store houses, which were found to be full 
of all manner of wealth, were sacked ; cows were 
slaughtered at the holiest shrines ; and then the great 
building itself was razed to the ground. 

This done, the marauders, well satisfied with 
the result of their expedition, sailed back to 
Colombo. A Church with columns of stone subse- 
quently occupied the site of the descrica lemple. 

On the 18th of February the long iooked-for 
flotilla of Manoel de Sousa Coutinho appeared befor 

The Siege Raised 111 

Colombo, and was greeted with a joyful salute from 
all the guns of the Fort. The vessels from Malacca 
were also beginning to arrive, and Raja Sinha realised 
that he could no longer maintain his present position. 
Three Sinhalese officers presented themselves before 
the gates, and were received in audience by the 
Council. They had come from their King with a 
request for a short truce to enable him to attend a 
festival at his Capital ; but before the audience was 
concluded the alarm was raised that the King was 
striking his camp. Consternation prevailed on every 
hand and the city was thrown into a state of uproar, 
while the Council, having first sent out spies to 
ascertain what was actually taking place, began 
hurriedly to discuss the situation. 

It was now nine o'clock on the night of Satur- 
day the 21st of February. Immense flames were seen 
to burst from the Sinhalese lines, were Raja Sinha 
had set fire to his wooden stockades. But the 
Captains were afraid to move till the report of the spies 
should be received. Diogo de Silva, hov/ever, having 
been sent out with his Lascarins by the gate Sao 
Joao, the few Sinhalese who were in sight retired 
before him, whereupon the whole army poured out 
of the gates, the van being led by Manoel de Sousa 
in person. Wijayakon Mudaliyar, who commanded 
the rearguard of the Sinhalese army, fell back as the 
Portuguese advanced till he reached the Dematagoda 
bridge, which he ordered to be pulled down. The 
Portuguese pressed forward to thwart his intention, but 
were met by so furious a fire that they were driven 
back. De Sousa now hurried up with all his men 
and Wijayakon retreated to the Kelani Ganga, the 
difficulty of the intervening ground hampering the 
movements of the Portuguese. 

The city was saved, and the gratitude of all 
found expression in an outpouring of thanks to the 
Almighty. Raja Sinha had done gallantly and well,^ 

112 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

but neither his iron will nor the devoted courage 
of his men could avail against the walls and artil- 
lery of Colombo, so long as the sea remained open 
to the Portuguese. As it was, the siege had strained 
every resource of Portuguese India, and swift vessels 
were soon speeding over the ocean to carry the 
joyful news throughout the East. 

Raja Sinha's last marvellous efforts had reduced 
him to exhaustion, and the Portuguese were thankful 
for the ensuing interval of rest. The country too 
was getting restless under the strain of these never- 
ending campaigns, and the severity of the King's 
rule. Konappu, who had risen into prominence during 
the siege, had in some way fallen foul of the autho- 
rities in Colombo and been banished to Goa, whither 
Jama Sinha Bandara, who had embraced Christianity 
under the name of Dom Philip, had preceded him. 
A deed of gift by which the latter conveyed to the 
Portuguese the Kingdom of the Uda Rata which he 
hoped to reconquer, in case he or his son Dom Joao 
should die without male heirs, overcame the hesita- 
tion of the Government, and a small army was placed 
at his disposal. Konappu, whose reputation had been 
greatly increased by his success in a duel with a 
swash-buckling Captain at Goa, joined him. Dom 
Philip landed on the Northern coast and advanced 
unopposed to Senkadagala. There he was proclaimed 
King» but died within a few weeks after a short 
illness. This was a contingency which had not been 
anticipated. The Sinhalese hesitated to accept at so 
critical a time a child as their King, and the Portu- 
guese decided to withdraw with the young Prince 
before the country should be roused to oppose them. 
They were allowed to return unmolested to Manar. 
whence Dom Joao was sent to the College of the 
Magi at Goa*. 

Konappu meanwhile had remained behind to 
organise the movement against Raja Sinha, and so 

Death of Raja Sinha 113 

successful was he that the Sitawaka garrisons were 
soon driven out of the mountains. The Portuguese 
at Colombo were however once again in a condition 
bordering upon anarchy, and could do nothing in his 
support. In 1591 indeed Andre Furtado de Mendoca, 
who subsequently rose to be the most prominent 
Portuguese General in the East, invaded Jaffna and 
set up a new King at Nallur ; but this did not 
influence the trend of events in the South. The 
Generals whom Raja Sinha sent to the Uda Rata 
were unable to cope with the popular movement, 
and in 1593 the King himself took the field on what 
proved to be his last campaign. 

His efforts met with no greater success than those 
of his Generals, while at the same time sickness broke 
out in his camp. "The power of my Merits," declared 
the weary King, "has declined".' Placing the Perumal" 
Aritta Kivendu in charge, he retired to his pleasaunce 
at Petangoda. Whilst he was there a bamboo splinter ran 
into his foot and caused blood-poisoning. Grave symptoms 
soon began to show themselves, and the royal barge was 
summoned to convey the King to Sitawaka. Down 
the broad Kelaniya the barge glided and turned into 
its swift tributary stream, the Sitawaka Ganga, the 
oarsmen toiling against the current to bring their 
King once again to his royal city. Not a word 
escaped Raja Sinha's lips ; he lay there buried in 
thought, reviewing the life which he had so gallantly 
spent for the country that he loved. When at length 
the barge took a sharp turn and ran its prow up 
on to the white sand of Kikili Bittera Wella, Ra Sin 
Deviyo was dead. 

"Verily," says the clerical writer of the Maha- 
wansa, to whom the memory of Raja Sinha was 
distasteful because of the antagonism which he had 
displayed towards Buddhism in the latter years of 
his reign, "this sinner did rule with a strong arm." 


114 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Thus "in the one thousand five hundred and four- 
teenth year of the Saka King, on Wednesday the 
Full Moon day of the month Medindina, under the 
asterism Site, Raja Sinha Maha Raja who had brought 
the Island of Sri Lanka under one Canopy of Dominion, 
departed this life and went to Kailasa.'" 

A few rough stones still mark the spot where 
the last great King of the Sinhalese race was 
cremated; and even to-day, deified as the Ganegoda 
Deviyo, he compels by the terror of his name the 
worship of his countrymen. '° 

Raja Surya, a grandson of the late King, suc- 
ceeded to the throne, but before long a palace 
intrigue resulted in his assassination, and the youthful 
Nikapitiya Bandara was proclaimed King in his stead, 
though the chief power remained in the hands of 
the Perumal. This remarkable man had originally 
come from India as a Fakir or religious mendicant, 
but his talents had quickly been recognised by Raja 
Sinha, at whose hands he received rapid promotion. 
He now enhanced his reputation by meeting and 
overthrowing the Mudaliyar Diogo de Silva, who 
had advanced with an army from Colombo. The 
Mudaliyar himself was killed, but the Perumal's 
brilliant victory nearly proved his undoing, for it 
emboldened him to solicit the hand of the sister of 
Nikapitiya Bandara in marriage, a development which 
the Sinhalese nobles viewed with disfavour. 

Lampoons reminiscent of the pilgrim's wallet 
which he had once worn were soon in the mouths 
of all, and the Perumal in alarm, and believing 
his life to be in danger, moved with the army to 
Menikkadawara, whence he secretly opened a treason- 
able correspondence with Pedro Homem Pereira, 
the Captain at Colombo, undertaking to reconquer 
the Kingdom of Kotte for Dharamapala, and that of 

Jayawira Bandara 115 

Sitawaka for himself, within twelve months. The 
Portuguese agreed to assist him, and he assumed 
the royal designation of Jayawira Bandara : but upon 
the advance of an army commanded by Illangakon 
Mudaliyar from Sitawaka his chief officers deserted 
him, and he himself was glad to escape with a 
small guard of 200 men and twenty-six of his 
elephants to Colombo, where, prostrating himself 
before Dharmapala, he reasserted his determination 
to carry out his share of the undertaking. 

By way of making good his word he captured the 
important outpost of Kaduwela, whereupon reinforce- 
ments were hurried across from Goa, and the whole of 
the Portuguese force took the field. The garrisons of 
Rakgaha Watta and Malwana were driven back 
and the main body of the Sitawaka army defeated 
at Gurubewila, after which the victorious Jayawira 
occupied Sitawaka with little or no resistance, the 
bulk of the great treasure of Raja Sinha falling into 
his hands. Nikapitiya Bandara, ^^ who had escaped 
to the mountains, was pursued and captured. This 
done, Jayawira swooped down upon the Matara 
Disawani, and soon had nearly the whole of the 
Kingdom of Kotte in his power. He was now de 
facto King of Sitawaka, and such was the power 
of his gold that the Portuguese almost to a man 
were soon in his train— it was indeed asserted that 
only twelve of them were left to guard Colombo. 

The ease and rapidity with which Jayawira 
had fulfilled his promise made the Portuguese open 
their eyes. Dharmapala, now once more master of 
the Kingdom which his grandfather had left to him, 
and legal overlord of the country, was well on in 
years, and there was little probability of his having 
children to succeed him on the throne. In accord- 
ance with the donation which he had executed, his 
rights would, in the event of his leaving no heirs, 
vest in the King of Portugal. The beautiful land they 

116 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

had coveted so long was in fine in the grasp of the 
Portuguese. The cHmate of Ceylon fitted it admirably 
for colonisation, whilst its wealth in elephants, cinna- 
mon, pearls and gems, made it a desirable possession 
for any nation. It was, moreover, the natural 
centre of the rich traffic with the Southern Seas ; 
and so long as the Portuguese were supreme at 
sea, its insular position would render its defence 
against all possible enemies no difficult matter. 
Could it be that Ceylon was destined to be the 
scene of the fulfilment of Alboquerque's dream—that 
in Ceylon would be established a second Portuguese 
nation which should hold sway over the whole of 

Such were the thoughts which presented them- 
selves to the Viceroy and his Council when they 
met to discuss the situation, and under their influence 
they decided to conquer Ceylon, and to place 
on the throne of the Uda Rata Dona Catherina, 
the young daughter of Karalliyadda, with a Portu- 
guese for her husband, expelling Konappu who at 
present ruled under the name of Wimala Dharma 
Surya. The Council further unanimously resolved 
to entrust the execution of its plans to Pedro de 
Sousa, who had recently distinguished himself by a 
successful campaign in Malacca. 

The decision was a momentous one, and fraught 
with consequences more disastrous to the continued exis- 
tence of the Portuguese Empire in the East than its 
authors could have contemplated, marking as it did 
the beginning of a new policy of aggression and terri- 
torial occupation in Ceylon. Hitherto the arms of 
the Portuguese had been used only in defence of 
the Kingdom of Kotte. That Kingdom they realised 
would soon belong to them, and the temptation to 
seize what appeared an easy opportunity to reduce 
the entire country, proved too much for their judg- 

The New Policy 117 

ment. In their ardour and the pride engendered 
by their military achievements, it did not occur to 
them that there might be serious obstacles in the 
way of success. They did not stop to consider that 
the powerful army which Dom Constantino de 
Braganza had taken to Jaffna had failed to impose 
a foreign yoke on the unwarlike Tamil, and that too 
in a country the nature of which presented no special 
difficulties from the military point of view. Further, 
a Portuguese army could not carry on an effective 
campaign in the Island without the assistance of native 
levies, especially when the theatre of operations 
consisted of so wild and rugged a country as the 
Uda Rata. It was one thing to rely on such levies 
to aid in asserting the suzerainty of Dharmapala ; 
it was quite another to expect them to assist in 
depriving their fellow-countrymen of their freedom. 
An appeal framed on these grounds would at most 
obtain a half-hearted response from the men of 
Kotte, while it would nerve the men of the Uda 
Rata to a desperate resistance. 

Moreover, they did not take into account the 
condition of affairs in Portugal. Her subjection to 
Spain had brought her into undesired collision with 
the enemies of :the latter, and the loss of the 
formidable squadron which she had been obliged to 
contribute to the Invincible Armada in 1588 had des- 
troyed her naval power. In this very year Philip II 
had closed the port of Lisbon to his rebellious sub- 
jects in Holland, and the shrewd merchants of that 
country were preparing to wrest from Portugal her 
Eastern trade. Effectually to maintain their position 
and protect their commerce, the Portuguese required 
an uninterrupted stream of reinforcements from the 
mother country. From tl>e Cape to Japan they tried 
to monopolise the entire trade, laying their hands 
not only on what was of real importance, but even 

118 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

on such petty matters as rice and coconuts. A series 
of factories would have sufficed to secure to them 
everything that was of value, but their reckless greed 
—as was inevitable -roused violent opposition, and 
the factories were soon converted into forts. Scat- 
tered as these were at wide intervals along the sea- 
coast, they could with difficulty render one another 
assistance in case of need. In consequence they were 
always in danger from neighbours whose hostility 
they had earned, and absorbed a number of men out 
of all proportion to the profits which they yielded. 
Nor could the scattered garrisons be efficiently super- 
vised from the seat of Government. Each of the 
petty commanders was allowed to do much as he 
wished, with the result that their evil practices 
ruined the good name of Portugal, and intensified 
the feeling of hostility which prevailed on every 

The first care of a Captain when he arrived 
at his station was not to correct abuses and to 
attend to the military duties of his post, but to 
ascertain what sources of income his predecessor 
enjoyed, and to devise fresh means of acquiring 
wealth rapidly. Their attitude towards the neigh- 
bouring potentates was marked by an overbearing 
arrogance which was far from conducive to the 
existence of friendly feelings, and forcible repression 
left a bitter feeling of resentment which necessitated 
increased military expenditure. The folly of each 
Captain had to be paid for at the expense of the 
State, and every day the difficulty of procuring 
sufficient men for the garrisons was more acutely 


1. There is reason to think that such sacrifices did take 
place on a hill overlooking the beautiful town of Kandy a 
little more than a hundred years ago. 

2. Compare what Hannibal did when he crossed the Alps. 

3. De Couto, X. 10. 2. 

4. This is the meaning of Devi Nuwara, of which the 
modern Dewundara is a corruption, A fine lighthouse now 
serves to guide mariners round this, the most southerly 
point of the Island. 

5. Antonio Teixeira, who left Ceylon for Goa this same 
year, 1588, has this of the Sinhalese : "To conclude with 
the Chingalas, they are naturally inclin'd to the Exercise of 
Arms, in which they have, and still do perform incredible 
Feats, some of which I have seen." 

6. After fifteen years spent at the College in the study of 
Latin and Divinity, Dom Joao was sent to Lisbon, where 
a pension was allowed to him out of the Indian Treasury. 
He was subsequently created a Grandee of Spain, with a 
seat on the Bench of Bishops and the privilege of remain- 
ing covered in the Royal Presence — "A prerogative so 
illustrious in itself, and so admirable in its effects, that it 
alone suffices to stamp its peculiar character on the dig- 
nity of the grandee," says Dr. Salazary Mendoza. 

The Prince died in 1642 and his tomb may be seen at the 
Oratory which he established at Telheira, in the suburbs 
of Lisbon. He left two illegitimate daughters by a Portu- 
guese lady. 

7. This refers to a well-known Buddhist doctrine. In the 
Russo-Japanese war the successes of the Japanese army 
were similarly ascribed to the Merits of the Emperor. 

8. The word Perumal is a Dravidian title and was frequently 
bestowed by the Sinhalese Kings upon the higher Indian 
officers of the Court. The honorific, as was usually the 
case with Sinhalese titles, was placed after and not before 
the personal name. 

9. This quotation is from the Rajavaliya. The exact date 
of the death is 8th March 1593, the Saka Era commenc- 
ing with the Christian year 79-80. 

120 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

10. Deification in the East is analogous to canonisation in 

the West, though probably it is Fear more often than 
Love which amongst Orientals leads to Worship. A high- 
bom Sinhalese who was executed by the British Govern- 
ment for rebellion in 1818 is now a god. 

11. Nikapitiya was baptised with the name of Dom Philip 

and accompanied his kinsman Dom Joao to Lisbon. He 
died in 1608 at the University of Coimbra, where he was 
being trained to fill a Bishopric. 


Such was the state of affairs when the Vice- 
roy's Council resolved upon the new policy. "The Island 
of Ceilao," wrote de Couto, "amongst our discoveries, 
proved to the State what Carthage was to Rome. 
Little by little she consumed men and artillery to 
so great an amount, that she alone has used up in 
her wars more than all our other conquests in the 
East.i" Such a contingency, however, did not present 
itself to the Council. Raja Sinha had swept through 
the Kanda Uda Rata ; his great Kingdom had crum- 
bled before the sword of Jayawira ; surely the Uda 
Rata alone could not resist the might of the Portu- 
guese arms? Such was their reasoning, and by the 
end of April 1594 six hundred of the finest troops 
that could be found in India had started for Ceylon 
under de Sousa, now appointed General Conquistador. 
Orders were sent to the Captain at Manar to 
despatch the Princess under escort to join the army 
of the Conquistador, while De Sousa himself with 
Jayawira and his nine thousand Lascarins advanced 
from Colombo to Menikkadawara. He had, however, 
failed to give sufficient consideration to the difficul- 
ties of the task which he had undertaken, the possi- 
bilities of delay, and the importance of making careful 
arrangements for provisioning his army. Headstrong 
and self-willed, he neither sought the advice of others 
nor gave them an opportunity of tendering it. At 
Menikkadawara, where the heavy rains of the south- 
west Monsoon necessitated a fortnight's delay, he was 
joined by the Princess. The narrow pass of Balane 


122 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

was found abandoned, and the Portuguese marched 
unopposed to the MahaweH Ganga, while Wimala 
Dharma disappeared into the great forests on the 
Eastern side of the Island. 

These forests have always been the shelter 
of a race of people known as the Veddahs or Hunters, 
who were as much of a puzzle in the days 
of the Portuguese as they are at the present hour. 
They represent probably the pre-Aryan abori- 
gines, and were regarded by the Sinhalese as 
being of high caste. Though under-sized, they 
were expert in the use of the bow. Some of 
them had reached a certain degree of civilisation, 
but the majority had no fixed abode, and lived 
entirely on the produce of the forest and the results 
of the chase. They stored their meat in hollows of 
trees, where it was preserved by being covered with 
wild honey. Their language was not understood by 
the Sinhalese, with whom nevertheless they maintained 
a crude form of barter. Arrowheads and axes being 
their chief needs, they would obtain them by hanging 
up in the course of the night at the house of the 
village smith a model, cut out of a leaf, of what 
they required. In due time the finished article 
would be hung up at the same spot, where the 
Veddah would in return leave such remuneration as 
he thought the labour demanded. Backward as were 
these people, they were among the most trusted 
servants of the King, and in times of dire peril it 
was to the Vedi Rata or country of the Veddahs, 
that the Royal Family and treasure were sent for 

The Portuguese occupied the abandoned palace, 
placing a close guard over the Princess ; a Portuguese 
lady, four Franciscans, and a Jesuit were her only 
attendants, and no Sinhalese was allowed to have 
access to her. No greater mistake could have been 
committed. Such extraordinary conduct aroused the 

Jayawira Killed 123 

suspicions of the Sinhalese and inflamed their resent- 
ment. They feared that their country was being 
conquered not for the benefit of their native 
Princess, but for some outsider, and their innate 
hatred of foreign control asserted itself. Before long 
every man in the neighbourhood had disappeared to 
swell the ranks of Wimala Dharma. 

Negotiations were now openly begim for the 
marriage of the Princess with Francisco de Silva 
Arcelaos, who, in addition to his other qualifications, 
had the reputation of being the tallest and hand- 
somest Portuguese in India; but to the great disap- 
pointment of the General nothing came of this and 
de Silva returned to Manar. 

Matters were not going smoothly with the Portu- 
guese. Bands of Sinhalese were seen prowling about in 
the surrounding woods and mountains, and at night their 
signals could be clearly heard from the camp. Foraging 
parties were continually harassed and stragglers shot 
at. Every day the difficulty of obtaining provisions 
increased, and there were whispered suspicions as to 
the good faith of Jayawira. A palm leaf scroll purport- 
ing to have come from him and detailing a plot to 
set fire to the camp and to fall upon the Portuguese 
in the ensuing confusion, was produced before the 
General, who on the strength of it determined to 
put him to death. The details are obscure, but all 
the accounts are agreed as to the folly and injustice 
of the plan, and the bloodthirsty violence with 
which it was executed. Jayawira was invited to meet 
the General, and on making his appearance was 
confronted with the incriminating scroll ; but 
before he could utter a word of comment 
the General snatched from him the golden dagger 
which he carried at his waist, and stabbed him three 
times to the heart, so that he fell down dead on the 
spot ; whereupon the soldiery outside, learning of 
what had occcurred, fell to killing every one of his 

124 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Indian followers whom they could find in the camp. 
Then followed the agreeable task of plundering the 
murdered man's treasurers. The delight of the Portu- 
guese, however, did not last long ; for when morning 
dawned it was found that the experienced Lascarins 
of Jayawira had disappeared. Joy gave way to dismay, 
and everyone cursed the wanton rashness of the 
self-willed General. The great peril in which they 
stood was clear to all. The whole country was in 
arms against them ; no one would sell them provi- 
sions ; and at the most they could only hold out for 
a couple of days. 

A body of 150 Portuguese and some Lascarins, 
who were sent out to forage, having been cut in pieces 
with one man alone surv^iving to tell the tale, the 
General decided to retire at dawn to Balane. By 
seven o'clock the vanguard of the Sinhalese army, 
prominent among whom were the Lascarins of Jaya- 
wira who were burning to avenge their Chief, had 
come in sight, and before long mountain, hill and 
valley were swarming with them. As they came 
within range they opened fire, and soon a terrible 
battle was raging. Each time that the Portuguese 
van rushed forward, the enemy recoiled, only to close 
in again the next moment in ever-increasing numbers. 
Fighting its way step by step through the narrow 
defiles, and with its leader killed, the van struggled on, 
without guides, till it was surrounded in the marsh of 
Danture and cut to pieces. The centre which guarded the 
Princess was dispersed after three hours of hard 
fighting ; butithe rear — its flank protected by a mounain 
—still maintained the contest. When at last the 
darkness of night brought some pause in the struggle, 
the ammunition had run short and the General 
himself had received no less than eight wounds. At 
daybreak but two hundred and twenty survivors 
remained, every one of whom had been wounded. 
Further resistance was hopeless, and they surrendered 
at discretion. 

Defeat of de Sousa 125 

Wimala Dharma's victory was now complete. 
Dona Catherina, the admitted heiress of the Kanda 
Uda Rata, was a prisoner in his hands, and on the 
following day he led her in triumph together with 
the long train of his Portuguese captives, to take 
her place as his principal Queen in the ruined 
Palace at Senkadagala. By the King's orders de 
Sousa's wounds were carefully tended, but he soon 
succumbed to them, having first personally entrusted 
to his conqueror his youthful son, who three years 
later was set at liberty. 

In one stern but just act of reprisal did Wimala 
Dharma indulge. A ghastly train of fifty Portuguese 
staggered into Colombo holding each other by the 
hand. Their ears were clipped to resemble those 
of the village cur ; there was but one eye left to 
every five of them ; and they had been so mutilated 
as to prevent their propagating their kind. Thus did 
he proclaim the resentment of the Sinhalese towards 
those who had outraged and violated their women. 
The remainder of the prisoners were treated with 
kindness ; they were healed of their wounds and then 
employed in rebuilding the palace and fortifications 
of Wimala Dharma's capital. 

This victory, won on the 6th of October 1594, 
was a magnificent achievement. The tactical skill 
which the experienced eye of Raja Sinha had detected 
in Konappu Bandara, had now reached its fruition. 
Many another brilliant stroke was Wimala Dharma 
fated to deal at the power of the Portuguese, but 
on this his first success he ever looked back with 
pride. Throughout his life the head of the Portu- 
guese General, the first of the Conquistadors, wrought 
in silver, adorned his feet^ 

The intense jealousy which so frequently marred 
the relations of Portuguese oflficials towards one another, 
had restrained Pereira from giving de Sousa that 

126 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

loyal support which the latter had a right to expect. 
The former was still at Sitawaka, brooding over his 
disappointment at not being appointed to command the 
expedition, when the first vague rumours of the peril 
in which the General and his army stood— those 
rumours which were so soon to be confirmed by the 
arrival of a refugee noseless and wounded, with the 
terrible story of the disaster — reached him. The 
grief which ensued was universal and overwhelming, 
but the danger was too close at hand to permit 
of time being spent in unavailing regrets. Within a 
few hours the Portuguese were in full retreat towards 
Colombo, taking with them five elephants laden with 
the treasure of Raja Sinha, under the charge of 
Samarakon Rala, a Sinhalese noble who had embraced 

On Christmas Eve of this year Domjeronymo 
de Azavedo arrived at Colombo as successor to de 
Sousa, and eight days later the army, accompanied 
by Dharmapala in person, set out for Sitawaka. The 
ferocity of the reprisals with which the new General 
struck terror into the country as he cautiously 
advanced, was ominous of the principles which guided 
him during his eighteen years in Ceylon. Upon the 
army reaching the desolate capital of Raja Sinha, 
the ruined palace was hastily repaired for the recep- 
tion of the King, and Samarakon was recalled from 
Galle, where he had been engaged in erecting a fort, 
and selected to take charge of the operations against 
Wimala Dharma ; but his progress was slow, and he 
suffered more than one reverse in the execution of 
his difl^icult task. 

It had by this time become clear to the Portu- 
guese that the new policy of aggression had brought 
them into a position of the gravest peril. The 
scanty supplies both of men and money which were 
sent over from India, only served to enable them to 
cling precariously to the little that remained in their 

Edirille Rata 127 

hands, at a cost which was wholly disproportionate 
to the results achieved. They realised, moreover, that 
Wimala Dharma might prove a more formidable 
opponent than Raja Sinha had ever been. His long 
residence amongst the Portuguese had made him fully 
aware of their circumstances, and they believed with 
reason that he was but patiently waiting till they 
had exhausted themselves in futile endeavours, to 
make himself master of the entire Island. Further, 
the already small Portuguese garrison was being 
reduced by disease and the lack of proper food. The 
hardships of the campaign against Wimala Dharma 
were well-nigh insupportable, and the troops were on 
the verge of mutiny. The success of Domingos Correa 
against the Prince of Uwa, who supported Wimala 
Dharma, secured a brief respite ; but it proved to 
be only the lull before the storm, and every Portu- 
guese heart was chilled when one morning in Nov- 
ember the whisper ran round, that Correa had on 
the 17th of the month raised the standard of revolt 
against his master Dharmapala, and crowned himself 

The meteoric career of this young man— for 
he was still under thirty years of age — was but 
typical of many in the tumultuous times which were 
soon to follow. The son of Edirille Arachchi, 
Dharmapala's Interpreter, he was, like his father, a Chris- 
tian by religion. Alboquerque, the mother of whose 
only son was a negress, had recognised that Portugal 
by herself would prove unequal to the task of sup- 
plying the men whom the East demanded from her, 
and he deliberately set about creating a new Portu- 
guese nation in Asia. Like Alexander the Great at 
Susa, he encouraged inter-marriage, and had obtained 
the sanction of Dom Manuel to the custom of permit- 
ting this as a special reward in the case of men of 
good character and exceptional services, for whom 
dowries were provided out of the conquered territory. 

128 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

The same policy had for some time been 
followed in Ceylon, and the Sinhalese, who freely inter- 
married with the Indian races, were prepared at this 
period to view the innovation, if not with equanimity, 
at least without repugnance. Edirille Arachchi's 
own daughter and his two nieces were married to 
Portuguese husbands, and this fact increased the 
friendliness with which his son was regarded among 
the Portuguese, and caused honours to be conferred 
on him with a liberal hand. 

There was nothing among the Sinhalese corres- 
ponding to the European Orders of Chivalry. It was 
not customary to group eminent men together under 
the emblem of a garden weed, or a household utensil. 
Distinguished service was rewarded by the gift 
of gold chains, jewels, or swords of honour, gifts 
which, as in the case of the Insignia of the Euro- 
pean Orders, had to be returned to the King on the death 
of the recipient. A village would also be assigned 
to the favoured individual, either for a limited period 
or for ever, so that he, and in the latter case his 
descendants, might have a sufficient revenue, and be 
able to command the services of the tenants of that 
village for the better maintenance of their dignity. 
These villages were assigned with due consideration 
of the restrictions imposed by the rules of caste, 
and the grant itself was either engraved on a sheet 
of copper, or written on a strip of palm leaf, and 
authenticated by the letter 5n,— which stood for 
the Royal signature. Forgery of such a signature 
was punishable with death. The grantee of a village 
was known as the Rala, or Lord, of that village, 
and like other high-born men was never addressed 
by his own personal name but always by an honorific ; 
as Robert Knox' who spent twenty years of his 
life as a prisoner among them, has said : "It is an 
affront and shame to them to be called by those 
(personal) names, which they say is to be like unto dogs," 

Revolt of Edirille Rala 129 

More than the gift of jewels and lands, the token 
of royal favour which was most highly prized among 
the Sinhalese was the grant of an honorific name. 
This also would be selected in accordance with the 
merits of the recipient, whether his distinction lay 
in some feat of arms, in great scholarship, or in 
some rare product of his handicraft. When such a 
name was conferred, the King with his own hand 
bound a thin frontlet of gold by means of a silken 
band to the forehead of the individual whom he 
sought to distinguish. In the case of humbler persons 
less costly materials would be employed, and an 
officer would be delegated to perform the task. 

Domingos Correa was the personal name which, 
according to European custom, had been confer- 
red on Edirille Arachchi's son at his baptism. 
As a youth he was known by his father's name 
and rank ; but his meritorious services had earned 
him promotion to the higher rank of Mudaliyar, and 
for his recent distinguished success against the forces 
of Wimala Dharma, the honorific of Wikramasinha< 
had been conferred on him, and he took his place 
as the first subject of Dharmapala. These accumu- 
lated favours, however, had failed to stifle in him 
the craving for a royal name, and on this fateful 
morning, in the presence of an army of seven thou- 
sand men, he assumed the title of Edirille Bandara. 

Fully alive to the danger which threatened 
the King, the General hastened in person to Guru- 
bewila and ordered the garrisons at Menikkadawara 
and Ruwanella to concentrate on Sitawaka— an order 
which was carried out only after excessive toil, for 
the whole district as far as Colombo was already 
in a seriously disturbed state, and the roads every- 
where were blocked with trees and other hastily 
improvised barricades. At length after fifteen days 
the want of provisions began to be felt, for none 
were to be procured in the surrounding country, 


130 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

which was now seething with revolt. The King's 
position was one of such grave peril that orders 
were sent to evacuate Sitawaka and to escort him 
to Gurubewila. Everything in the city which could 
be of use to the enemy was burnt, and jars and 
earthen vessels full of poisoned comfits were left 
behind, together with casks of powder skilfully con- 
cealed under cloth, and so disposed as to take fire 
on the approach of the enemy to plunder them. 
The garrison, consisting of about three hundred 
Portuguese, then set out for Gurubewila and pushed 
on steadily for a whole day, clearing the road as 
it advanced and subject to constant harassment from 
the Sinhalese. As evening drew on a determined 
rush was made by the latter, headed by their ele- 
phants. Repeated volleys barely checked the attack ; 
nearly every one of the officers was wounded, and 
no fewer than twenty-three of the little force were 
left on the field. 

At last in the dead of night they reached 
Gurubewila. Here once again they encountered famine. 
For two weeks the soldiers did not have more than 
a plate of rice gruel each a day. So close was the 
blockade that not a drop of water could be obtained 
from the river without serious risk. The beleagu- 
ered garrison therefore decided that it was better 
to face the swords of the enemy than the certainty 
of death by starvation. Having confessed and par- 
taken of the Sacrament, the Portuguese started from 
Gurubewila, the munitions being carried by elephants. 
The General, although ailing, went on foot ; while the 
King and Queen were borne along in palanquins. 
Avoiding the usual road, which was infested by the 
enemy, they struck off southward into the Rayigam 
Korale, which had so far manifested no symptoms 
of disaffection. Correa immediately crossed the 
Kelaniya and proceeded to block the roads. The 
Portuguese were compelled to move step by step, 

The Pursuit 131 

cutting a path for themselves with their axes held 
in one hand, while the other grasped musket and 
pike in readiness for an attack. From every side 
the Sinhalese poured in upon them. The Captain in 
command of the rear was so badly wounded that 
he died within a short time ; one company of thirty men 
was all but annihilated, while a stalwart Sinhalese 
rushed at the Ensign and dragged away the standard 
from his grasp. 

For three days and three nights the Portuguese 
were allowed no respite for sleep or food, and then 
a fierce attack was launched against the rear, while 
Correa himself supported by twelve elephants fell on 
the van and hurled it back on the centre, where 
the General had taken up his position. In the eager- 
ness of pursuit friend and foe, living and dead, were 
rolled one over the other. One hundred and thirty- 
four Portuguese had been stretched in death, one 
hundred and eighteen were wounded, and only one 
hundred and twelve remained to resist the enemy, 
when fortunately for them, Correa himself sustained 
a serious hurt, whereupon his men retired. 

The General had now his opportunity. Giving 
the signal on the two trumpets and the one drum 
which still remained to him— for everything else was 
gone— he rallied the survivors ; then, as night came 
on, abandoning the dead and such of the living as 
were helpless from their wounds, he crossed the 
river and continued the retreat. Iddagoda Rala, how- 
ever, took Correa's place and with untiring tenacity 
kept up the pursuit, till he succeeded in hemming 
them in not far from the desecrated temple of 

The last hopeless struggle for life had come, 
and the weary soldiers fought with a reckless valour 
which aroused wonder among the Sinhalese, who 
opened out their ranks and harassed them with their 
muskets. Many had already fallen, and of the survi- 

132 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

vors the greater number were wounded, when at the 
far end of avast rice field there appeared the ghnt 
of steel. At the sight of what they supposed to 
be an addition to the forces of Correa, the hands 
of the Portuguese, whose ammunition was nearly- 
exhausted, dropped momentarily to their sides. The 
Sinhalese also, seeing in the advancing body of men 
the army of Samarakon Rala, the powerful noble- 
man whose assistance Edirille Rala had attempted to 
secure, stayed their attack till he could join them. 
Nor had they long to wait, for Dom Diogo, the 
brother of Samarakon, at the head of the five hun- 
dred Christian Tupasses^ of .Colombo who formed 
the advanced guard of his army, charged into their 
midst with such impetuosity, that Iddagoda Rala 
himself was killed in the first onset, his head being 
cut off and carried away on the point of a lance, 
to be laid at the feet of the King whom he had 
betrayed. The main body under Samarakon now 
came in sight and the rebels drew back. Whether 
joy or grief prevailed at this miraculous deliverance, 
it were difficult to say. The exhausted remnant of the 
Portuguese, who for three days had been sustained 
mainly by hope, were now able to rest and eat. On 
the following day they returned to Colombo taking 
the King with them, not fifty out of the whole 
number being unwounded. 

Edirille Rala now sought refuge with Wimala 
Dharma, who formally made over to him the King- 
doms of Kotte and Sitawaka. Their two armies soon 
took the field, but the arrival of fresh forces from 
India enabled de Azavedo to reoccupy Malwana, 
while Samarakon began the construction of a fort 
at Uduwara in the Rayigam Korale. In the hope of 
surprising the latter Edirille Rala made a forced 
march with an army of five thousand men, but was 
repulsed with heavy loss by Samarakon, who had 
been forewarned and was ready for him. 

The Triumph of Samarakon 133 

Had Samarakon been able to follow in pursuit, 
the matter could have been brought to a conclusion 
then and there, for Wimala Dharma was too far 
away to assist. So swollen was the river with the 
recent floods that it was impossible to cross it, 
though not a few were drowned in the attempt. 
Edirille Rala concealed himself among the extensive 
marshes in the neighbourhood, till at length after 
three days hunger compelled him to enter the hut 
of an old woman to beg for a little food. To her 
he revealed his identity, and the woman, aware of the 
heavy price which had been set upon his head, and 
urged by her poverty, sent a secret message to 
Samarakon to tell him of the whereabouts of his foe. 
He was soon arrested and brought before the Mudaliyar, 
who received him with all courtesy and ordered that 
his wounds should be attended to, at the same time 
communicating the welcome news to the General, 
who was now at Kalutara. 

Strange thoughts must have welled in the 
breast of de Azavedo. He, the haughty Portuguese, 
in whose military prowess his King had placed so 
much hope, had been compelled to save his life by 
ignominious flight before an ill-armed Sinhalese rabble 
inspired by the courage and directed by the skill of 
his own favourite. How eagerly therefore must he 
have scanned the water from the foot of Kalutara 
Hill— once the site of a lovely temple, now prostituted 
by the foreigner to the uses of a fort— as three 
days later the boat of Samarakon appeared in the 
far distance,— as it seemed, immediately beneath the 
graceful pinnacle of the sacred Peak. Thousands 
crowded the bank as the barge, in which was to 
be seen the slenderly built Sinhalese Mudaliyar by the 
side of his distinguished prisoner, drew near. One 
last heave of the great oars by which the boat was 
steered brought it to the landing-place. It had 
scarcely touched the shore when a strange thing 

134 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

happened. The terrible General Conquistador was seen 
to rush to the water's edge, followed by the Captain 
of Colombo and two other officers ; seizing the Muda- 
liyar, they raised him on their shoulders and carried 
him in triumph to the General's tent, amidst a thou- 
sand vivas from the Portuguese, and a demonstration 
of delight from the Sinhalese crowded around. 

The prisoner was now brought before the Gen- 
eral and sharply questioned, but gave his answers 
with great coolness. His fate was soon decided upon, 
and the General returned to Colombo, taking the 
prisoner with him in massive chains. The execution 
was delayed forty days till the 14th of July, in the 
hope that Edirille Rala might be induced to reveal 
the place where his treasure was concealed. At last 
the day arrived. A theatre, fitted with such marks 
of mourning as his rank demanded, had been erected 
in the most public spot in the city. Thither he was 
led, and after expressing in a few words his sorrow 
for the evil he had wrought, paid the penalty of his 

The death of Edirille Rala was the signal for 
fresh excesses on the part of the Portuguese officials. 
Dharmapala was helpless in their hands, and de 
Azavedo and Thome de Sousa, who was now the 
Captain of Colombo, exchanged the cringing syco- 
phancy which they had hitherto employed to obtain 
money from him, for open brutality and violence. 
The King estimated the revenue which his domains 
should yield him at nine hundred thousand cruzados 
in addition to which he looked for a further thirty 
thousand cruzados from the Customs duties. All this 
should have been available for military expenditure, 
but was as a matter of fact embezzled in every 
direction. By appointing his own creatures as Factors 
and Secretaries, de Azavedo soon brought this revenue 
under his own control, and no receipts were given 
save where it suited his plans. The trade in areca 

Dharmapala's Grievances 135 

nut, which was expected to yield as much as the 
Customs, de Azavedo and de Sousa kept exclusively 
to themselves. The King protested against this 
interference with his Treasury, and urged that the 
revenue should be deposited in a chest to be lodged 
at the Franciscan Convent: this chest was to be 
locked with three keys, to be held severally by the 
representatives of himself and of the King of Portugal, 
and by the Guardian of the Franciscans, and 
disbursements were to be made only on the orders 
of his Council and in his own presence. He insisted 
that the large revenue which he was entitled to 
receive in kind from the royal tenants should, accord- 
ing to custom, be handed over to him personally 
and stored as ordered by his Council. He, moreover, 
emphasized the fact that the privileges granted to 
private parties in respect of his ports did not imply 
a waiver of his royal dues on exports. Further to 
protect himself (for he found that the Captains of 
Colombo were acting as if they were themselves 
sovereign) he proposed the appointment of a select 
"Cabinet" which could assist him in the work of 
Government, and which he suggested should consist 
of a Sinhalese nominated by himself, a Portuguese 
nominated by the King of Portugal, and a Franciscan : 
orders issued by this "Cabinet" were not to be 
questioned by anyone. 

In addition to these proposals Dharmapala 
appealed to King Philip to safeguard the dignity of his 
Royal Person ; and indeed it was whispered about 
that personal violence had been resorted to in order 
to wring concessions from him. He further begged 
for a Portuguese Secretary and a Captain of the 
Guard in whom he could have confidence and who 
should not be in any way connected with the Captain 
of Colombo, adding that they should be of such 
social standing as not to bring discredit on his Court. 
The insolence and the lawlessness of the Christians 

136 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

who had grov/n up with the Portuguese had in fact 
attained such dimensions, that special action was 
required to keep them under control. Moreover, the 
General was for ever interfering with the sentences 
passed by the King, and the Viceroy was unwilling 
to exert his authority and check his subordinate; 
Dharmapala therefore asked for experienced judges 
who would be able to give him assistance in the 
administration of justice. The reckless manner also 
in which valuable fruit trees were felled for the 
purposes of shipbuilding had for many years been 
a cause of complaint, and Dharmapala once again 
urged that the Portuguese officials should be for- 
bidden to build vessels in the country at all. 

Moreover, King Philip received credible inform- 
ation that his own ships were employed by de 
Azavedo more in his private trading concerns than 
in conveying military stores. For eight years it had 
not been possible to obtain any profit from the 
gem-yielding lands, but it was now reported that 
the General was making preparations to exploit them 
on his own behalf, and this in spite of the fact 
that the royal prerogative over the gems was so 
jealously guarded, that no pit could be opened with- 
out the special order of the King himself. Vague 
rumours were current about a ruby of the size ^of 
a small hen's egg, which was said to have been 
dishonestly put out of the way with the connivance 
of de Azavedo and de Sousa ; and King Philip, who 
was very anxious that every attempt should be made 
to secure this rare gem for himself, sent instruct- 
ions in this sense to the Viceroy. The Franciscans 
openly complained that torture was being employed 
to extract money from the wretched inhabitants of 
the Island ; one woman who was pregnant with child 
died under the brutal treatment to which she was 
subjected by de Sousa, who extorted from her three 
hundred gold Portuguezes. It is not surprising that 

Death of Dharmapala 137 

the Sinhalese Buddhists viewed with suspicion a 
rehgion the professed champions of which could be 
guilty of such conduct, and that the work of con- 
version was seriously hampered. 

It was, however, in vain that King Philip 
expressed his strong dissatisfaction at the reports 
which reached him, and insisted that Dharmapala 
should be treated with every consideration. The 
Viceroy was negligent, and the local authorities 
ignored the censures passed on their conduct. In 
the meantime, on the 27th of May 1597, Dharma- 
pala himself died. Though harassed, robbed and 
even poisoned by the Portuguese sojourners within 
his gates ; at one time maltreated and insulted by 
their Generals and Captains, at another slavishly 
fawned upon and caressed, as either course in turn 
was considered the more likely to secure the gold 
they lusted for ; with his subjects estranged from 
him by his apostasy from the ancient religion of his 
forefathers, and the reality of power snatched from 
him by his own kinsmen at the point of the sword ; 
he yet bore himself to the end with the contempt- 
uous patience and dignity which befitted the last of 
the Kings of Lanka. 

"The Most High Prince Dom Joam, by the 
Grace of God King of Ceilam, Perea Pandar", was 
interred in the Convent of Sao Francisco with all 
the state and solemnity which the condition of 
the country could afford and his lofty position 
demanded. For the first and last time a Sinhalese 
King was committed to the earth with Christian 
rites, and solemn Masses were sung for the repose 
of his weary soul' 



1. Ceilao, que des que descubrimos aquella Ilha foi sempre 
ao Estado da India outra Cartago a Roma. Porque pouco 
e pouco foi consumindo em despezas, gente, e artilheria 
tanto, que ella so tem gastado com suas guerras mais, 
que todas as outras conquistas deste Oriente.— Z)« Couio. 

2. In the form of a Virakkala or anklet such as was worn 
by warriors. 

3. 1659-1679. His Historical Relation, printed in London in 
1681, is the most accurate description of village life in 
Ceylon, in the English language. 

4. This means The Victorious Lion. 

5. The offspring of mixed Portuguese and Sinhalese origin, 
who formed the trading class. 

6. The fact has reluctantly to be recorded that it was left 
to the British Government to permit the destruction of 
the tomb. 


No sooner had the grave closed on Dharma- 
pala's mortal remains, than the Portuguese authorities 
took action to carry into effect the donation of 
his Kingdom which he had made. A Convention was 
summoned to meet on the 29th of September at 
Malwana, a pleasant village on the banks of the 
Kelani Ganga, whither the people were invited to 
send two delegates from each Korale to take 
the oath of allegiance to the King of Portugal. The 
delegates duly assembled, and after two days spent 
in negotiations agreed to recognise Dom Philip II as 
their King, provided that the Portuguese officials 
would guarantee on his behalf that the laws and customs 
of the Sinhalese should be maintained inviolate for 
ever. The required guarantee was given, whereupon 
the delegates selected eight representatives to take 
the necessary oath. All of them, judging from their 
names, were Christians; and five of them were 
noblemen of the late King's Court, and bore the 
jealously guarded title of Dom. These eight knelt 
round a table, and placing their hands on a Missal took 
the oath promising faithfulness, loyalty and vassalage 
to the King of Portugal and his successors on the 
Throne. The Captain General thereupon delivered 
the Royal Standard of Portugal into the hands of 
Dom Antao, the chief man amongst the Sinhalese 
nobles, and headed by this the whole assembly went 
in procession through the principal streets proclaiming 
the accession of the new King. 

Situated as the Sinhalese were, the change of 
dynasty was not a matter of great moment. There 

140 Ceylon and the Porhiguese 

was one thing which they recognised as being greater 
than the King, Custom ; and this the Portuguese 
had guaranteed that they would preserve and respect. 
Philip II was to them but a name, and in their 
eyes the real successor of Dharmapala was Dom 
Jeron3rmo de Azavedo, who was known as the King 
of Malwana, from the village which he now selected 
as his headquarters. To him the honours due to 
Royalty were paid ; he was saluted with prostrations, 
and the White Shield and Parasol of Sovereignty 
accompained him in his progresses through the 

Thanks to the brilliant achievements of Jayawira, 
almost the whole of the territory originally adminis- 
tered directly from Kotte was now under the control 
of the Portuguese. This territory was divided into 
four great Provinces or Disawani. The most 
important of these was that of Matara, lying, as has 
already been pointed out, along the sea coast from 
Kotte to the Walawe Ganga, and including the most 
fertile portions of the ancient Ruhuna. Immediately 
to the North of this lay Saparagamuwa, which 
skirted the mountains of the Kanda Uda Rata and 
terminated in the same river, the Walawe Ganga. 
Beyond the Kelani Ganga was the Province of the 
Four Korales, through which ran the road to Senka- 
dagala, and which was to be the scene of fierce 
struggles during the next forty years ; and North 
again of the Four Korales, and bordering the sea 
on the West, lay the Seven Korales, which stretched 
into the great forests of the Anuradhapura district. 
These three last-named Provinces represented roughly 
the Maya Rata, exclusive of the mountain plateau. 
Over each Disawani was placed a great noble with 
the title of Disawa, who was responsible for its 
revenue, and for the administration both judicial and 
military. Under him were numerous grades of 
officials, terminating in the village headmen or 

Religion 141 

Mayorals, as the Portuguese called them. The 
Disawa of Matara took rank immediately after the 
General, and was entitled to have a white shield 
with a crimson centre borne before him. Samarakon, 
while he was in charge of this Province, maintained 
a force of 12,000 men from among its warlike 

The policy of aggression so disastrously 
inaugurated by the expedition of de Sousa was to 
be carried on till 1638 relentlessly, and with a vigour 
which was tempered only by the incapacity of the 
Government at Lisbon to furnish the necessary men 
and material. The lines which separated the two 
parties in the long-drawn-out struggle were no longer 
blurred as they had been while Dharmapala lived. 
His standard of the Lion and the Sun had now 
betaken itself to Senkadagala, and never again floated 
over Colombo ; for the Sinhalese Buddhists needed a 
Sinhalese King, and it was the banner of Christ 
which led the Portuguese to battle. 

The attitude of hostility towards the Buddhist 
priesthood which Raja Sinha had adopted during the 
last few years of his reign, had resulted in there 
being hardly a priest left in the country whose 
Ordination could not be called in question. This 
circumstance caused much distress, and Wimala 
Dharma's attempt to remedy it greatly increased his 
popularity and strengthened his hold on the people. 
In 1475 an embassy, sent by King Ramadhipathi of 
Pegu, had taken back with it to that country a body 
of priests ordained in the sacerdotal succession 
which was derived immediately from the disciples 
of Gautama, and. which had been preserved unbroken 
in Ceylon. Wimala Dharma now sent an embassy to 
fetch a Chapter to re-establish that succession in 
Ceylon. This mission was successful, and in 1597 
an Ordination was held in the neighbourhood of the 
Capital, to the great satisfaction of the people. About 

142 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the same time also the Danta Dhatu, Vhich had 
been removed from Delgamuwa to safeguard it from 
the advancing Portuguese army, was solemnly installed 
at Senkadagala, a three-storied edifice with a finial 
of gold and gems being erected within the Palace 
grounds for its reception. As a crowning act of piety 
Wimala Dharma personally went on a pilgrimage to 
worship the Footprint on the Peak of Samanala 
Kanda. On his return he had a replica of the 
Footprint engraved on stone and set up near the 
Palace. The pilgrimage was now a journey of much 
hazard and danger, and his grateful subjects came 
together from all parts to worship at this model, 
each one bringing with him what he could out of 
his scanty resources, for the repair and maintenance 
of the desecrated temples. 

Simao Correa, brother of Edirille Rala, had 
been anxiously awaiting an opportunity of proving 
to Wimala Dharma that the favour with which the 
latter had received him was not unmerited ; he now 
came with an army down the Idelgashinna Pass, 
which rising to a height of 4700 feet is the only 
means of approaching Uwa from the South; and 
crossing the extreme eastern limit of Saparagamuwa 
entrenched himself strongly on some rising ground 
near Katuwana, so as to threaten Matara. Samarakon 
hurried up to check the movement, and was soon 
joined by a further contingent of 2000 men from 
Colombo, under the command of Simao Pinhao, a 
Portuguese who for an act of piracy had been 
banished to Ceylon, where he had won for himself 
a great reputation in the hostilities which had been 
carried on in 1591 against the King of Jaffna. He 
was now thirty-five years of age, wiry of body and 
of immense strength, with a large round head made 
all the more striking by the blindness of one eye. 
Such was the prestige he enjoyed, that he was 
considered worthy to be rewarded with the hand of 

De Azavedo 143 

Dona Maria Perera, the grand-daughter of Raja Sinha, 
and he had succeeded Edirille Rala in the chief 
command over the Lascarins, 

A brilhant victory on the 25th of September 
drove Correa back within the mountains, and obtained 
for Samarakon the coveted insignia of the mihtary 
Order of Christ, with the grant of a village yielding 
500 pardaos a year. Correa's movement south- 
wards was, however, only part of a larger plan, and 
simultaneously a second force had descended west- 
ward down the Balane Pass into the Four Korales, 
and established itself at Iddamalpane, in the midst 
of the rugged country through which the road runs 
to Senkadagala. An attempt to surprise this camp 
proved so disastrous a failure, that the whole of the 
Four Korales up to within a league of Malwana 
rose in arms. Pinhao hurried to the rescue, and in 
his absence, to add to the confusion, Affonco Moro, 
who was entrusted with the task of provisioning 
the forces engaged in the Saparagamuwa frontier 
and who had become infatuated with a Sinhalese 
woman, deserted to Wimala Dharma. Pinhao found 
himself unable to advance beyond Attanagala, and in 
spite of the urgent requests of de Azavedo, the Indian 
authorities were too busy with their own wars to 
send assistance. The latter had already by his stern 
severity rendered himself odious among his soldiers. 
His rapacity had cast off all restraint since the 
death of Dharmapala, while his ferocious cruelty and 
utter indifference to suffering showed itself more 
and more as the resistance of the Sinhalese increased 
in obstinacy. By his orders little babes were spitted 
on his soldiers' pikes, or mashed to a pulp between 
mill-stones, while their mothers were compelled to 
witness the pitiful sight before they themselves were 
put to death. Men were thrown into the water to 
feed the crocodiles, which at length grew so tame 
that they came at a signal for the welcome feast. 


144 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

It is strange that the imaginative Sinhalese have not 
selected to deify this thick-set swarthy Iberian, with his 
vicious hanging under-lip, as the incarnation of all 
the cruelty which man born from his mother's womb 
can devise ; for generations at least they remem- 
bered his name with a shuddering horror. 

In spite of all de Azavedo's skill and deter- 
mination, the task seemed too difficult a one to be 
accomplished with the means he had at his disposal, 
and in disgust he applied to the Viceroy to be 
relieved of his duties. His request, however, could 
not be granted, and the exertions of Pinhao barely 
served to keep the foe in check, when, fortunately 
for the Portuguese, Correa reappeared with an army 
not far from Ruwanella, and, imitating in his turn 
the treachery of Jayawira, deserted to the General at 

To that harassed commander no visitor could 
have been more welcome, but the Inquisition, which 
had been established at Goa in 1560, had first to be 
satisfied as to the soundness of Correa's views 
on religion. So deep, however, were the signs of 
contrition and repentance which he displayed, that 
there was no difficulty in effecting a reconciliation 
with that Tribunal, and he returned with a Portu- 
guese wife to Ceylon, there to prove himself a 
skilled pupil in the school of de Azavedo. Hostili- 
ties were now renewed with increasing energy, and 
all along the border raid and counter-raid followed 
each other in quick succession. Affonco Moro was 
surprised and put to death ; Etgala Tota, which 
commanded the passage of the Maha Oya, was 
occupied ; and by January 1599 a strong fort was 
erected at Menikkadawara, which was intended to be 
the head quarters for the proposed operations against 
the Uda Rata. The surrounding country was devas- 
tated till not a tree was left standing. Pusella Muda- 
liyar, a disappointed place-seeker, deserted to the 

The Rodi 145 

Portuguese and was so well received by them, that, 
to prove his gratitude, he erected a wooden enclos- 
ure which he was engaged in filling with heads of 
the Sinhalese whom he slaughtered, when he was 
seized and killed by the King's men. A more terrible 
punishment awaited his family. 

The Sinhalese being Buddhists believe that 
death is but one incident in a chain of existence, 
and that it is followed by re-birth on a higher or 
lower plane, in accordance with the Merit of the 
previous life. For a nation holding such a belief 
death has few terrors, though the King alone was 
vested with the power of inflicting this penalty. 
There was, however, one punishment which the 
King could inflict which was in the eyes of his 
subjects more awful even than death. Whatever 
the services of an individual might be, the King 
could not confer on him a caste superior to that 
in which he was born ; but the King had the terrible 
power to make him an outcaste- 

Here and there in Ceylon were, and are still, to be 
found small hamlets of a people named the Rodi— the 
people of the Dirt. Their hamlet was the Kuppayama, the 
Dirt Heap. They might not till the soil, nor cross running 
water, nor enter a place of worship. The roofs of 
their squalid huts could slope only in one direction, 
and almost their only occupation was begging, the 
proceeds of which would be eked out by what the 
women obtained by prostitution, or the men by 
thieving. Their touch was pollution, and they were 
obliged to leave the public path at sight of any 
other human being, lest there should be risk of 
contact with them. Their shadow falling on human 
food rendered it unfit for consumption. The only 
labour at which they were employed was to skin and 
bury the carcases of cattle which died in the fields, 
and from the hides so obtained they made the 
ropes used for securing elephants. The better to 
. 19 

146 Ceylon anu ^^ Po ^e 

brand with infamy the t* 'ussella Mudali- 

yar, orders were issued thai ins wife should be 
seized and cast to these Rodi ; but in mercy she 
was first taken to the riverside, and given the oppor- 
tunity of drowning h^.-self. 

Success was r c all with the Portuguese, and 

many serious reverses ^\ 'ayed their advance towards the 

Uda Rata. The ban i the Maha Oya have always 

had an evil reputation sickness, and at one season of 

the in''" the fish caught in its waters are considered to be 

poived Ol 1 Whether as the result of eating them, 

«'not be grant(»re probable, in onsequence of an out- 

\ served to keearia, sickness atic-^ked the garrison at 

'for the Portugd 'jon the hospital a'r Colombo was 

not far from lowips-' At the sa.iie time the men of 

the treachery rales le ■" by ^. lucl Gomes, an officer 

Malwana. d un*-' ^e Portuguese, devastated 

To that 1: Chile w "-^egombo,^ .destroyir-v the 

have been more ^ the p.iest;, :o death, and,wppro- 

/ had been establisied vessels. The Portugue'ist Ixried 

satisfied as to tiough they killed the vil ' with- 

on religion. So ground of their allege^ jlicity, 

contrition and -~ -^ come up with Gomes. Simultaneously 

there was nr attacked their .ucposts and put their 

with that ''-^ the sword. Th^ whole district became 

guese wi^^f pitiless warfare, ^ till at length Gome? 

skilled 'Jushed and killed and some semblance O' 

ties f, restored, after the,. struggle had lasted till May 

2^11 J.. Etgalatota was, however, abandoned. 

The opportune arrival of some Portuguej> 
troops strengthened the hands of de Azavedo, an 
by a series of rapid movements he advanced .^ 
Ganetenna, the fort which protected the entrar^ 
to the great Pass leading within the mouni-^ 
After twenty days the Sinhalese suddenly witht -g 
to their main fort at Balane which commanded tu^ 
Pass from above, and the Portuguese hastened to 
occupy the stronghold they had vacated. The toil of 

'r\A , cas 147 

eight years j jre brought them to the 

foot of the mou^ ..^ wall. 

Pinhao being now placed in charge of the 
operations, while de Azavedo busied himself in pre- 
paring a large force for the fi^^al reduction of the 
Sinhalese kingdom, Wimala D/ 'rma entered into a 
secret correspondence with ^ e former, offering to 
make him King of ithe .ow Country if he 
would desert to him. Acti on de Azavedo's instruc- 
tions, Pinhao appeared to acquiesce. It wt-^qj "eed 
that the two parties to the discussions shc^j^j ^ h ^^Se 
Cons'.nissioners before /hom the King-g alone was 
respectively were t- take an oath to ^-^jg penalty, 
promise. De i zavedo's plan was -'o ^^^ which the 
stabbed to dc^ath dt this inter >w;' gygg ^f j^jg 

The King, ho, )ver, ' i lived th. Whatever 
the K-''<? ^uese not to ^' he n- be, the King 

with w^^iom he was -■ .x 'One uperior to that 
Dias, Who as a pa^c had been ig had the terrible 
deff^at '"^ de Sousa, and who hac' 
fay. ^^ h the King, appeared ), and are still, to be 
camp ^ch were his professi*" med the Rodi— the 
Generar was persuaded that in hiiit Kuppayama, the 
yet another providential tool for the cxross running 
the plot against the King's life. The sec- roofs of 
Ibsed to him, and he was promised high direction, 
if he and his men would assist in the eng, the 
This' he agreed to do, sv»^earing with the u the 
fervour all the oaths which were demanded of i. hv 
He was then, to allay any suspicions, provided with 
two Portuguese banners and two heads, and allowed 
, ) return. 

^ The fort of Balane crowned the loftiest peak 
^ a high range of mountains. Nature had made 
^ J position one of almost impregnable strength, and 
art could do but little to add to its security. The 
entrance to the fort was at the base of the crag 
and lay beneath a bastion which commanded the 

i48 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

approach up the mountain side. This approach was 
by a rugged and exposed path, and was narrow, 
steep and long. The adjoining mountains also were 
strongly held, and the whole position formed the 
key to the Sinhalese kingdom. The train being thus 
laid, the General made his dispositions with the 
utmost caution. Detachments were posted all along 
the road from Colombo, and sealed orders were given 
that on the momentous day all were to move on 
Ganetenna, so that if every thing went well, the 
whole Portuguese army might take part in the 
expected triumphal entry into Senkadagala. C^.the 
night of Easter the General himself set out to 
watch the explosion of this tremendous mine. Evil 
omens accompanied him on the road, where his rien 
were set upon by a wild elephant with a fury which to 
their overstrung imaginations appeared to be diaboj^ical. 
Two were killed and several were injured,i;i4d the 
General himself escaped with difficulty, for nk^arms 
appeared to take no effect on the raging moitster. 

In the meantirne the unsuspecting PcCtu- 
guese Commissioners were allowed to enter the f-^>rt 
of Balane, where they were quietly arrested, while 
the Sinhalese hurried down to lie in ambush out-^ 
side the gate of the fort. The preconcerted signal , 
was then given, and the Portuguese, confident of 
victory, prepared to sally out. Pinhao, however, was 
as keen-witted as the King, and insisted on waiting 
till the dawn. His advice prevailed, and before day 
broke three of the Lascarins who had accompanied 
the Commissioners came running in with the news 
of their arrest. The great coup had failed, and nothing 
now remained to be done but to send back the 
garrisons to their stations, while Wimala Dharma 
showed his gratitude to Dias by appointing him 
Maha or Chief Mudaliyar over the heads of all his 
Sinhalese officers. 

Outside the Island events had in the mean- 
time been moving rapidly. In 1598 Philip III of Spain 


Joris van Spilbergen 149 

had succeeded his father on the Throne of Portugal 
and with his reign began that decay, poHtical and 
commercial, which continued into that of his succes- 
sor and destroyed the greatness of the country with 
a rapidity which exceeded even that which had 
characterised its growth. 

Three years earUer, in 1595, the Hollanders 
had despatched four of their vessels to the East. 
These ships penetrated as far as Bantam and 
returned home after an absence of two and a half 
years, a Factory having in 1597 been established in 
Java. Various Companies were soon on foot to 
secure the Eastern trade, and in 1602 their United 
East India Company was incorporated. On the 31st 
of May of that year Joris van Spilbergen, command- 
ing two vessels of the Hollanders, appeared off the East- 
ern coast of Ceylon, and after some preliminary 
negotiations with the King set out on the 6th of 
July for the Court. A ceremonious reception was 
everywhere accorded to him, and as he approached 
the Capital messengers arrived hourly with inquiries 
after his health and presents from the King. On 
reaching the Mahaweli Ganga Spilbergen was met 
by Manuel Dias , who escorted him in procession to 
Senkadagala, at this time a small town of about 
2500 inhabitants, the majority of whom were traders 
from South India. The same afternoon three saddled 
horses arrived from the palace with a summons for 
him to appear before the King, He was received 
with all the rigid formality of an Oriental Court, 
and after making his obeisance laid on the 
carpet for the royal inspection the presents 
which he had brought. These were then removed 
to within the Palace to be shown to the 
Household, while the King, who was dressed in white, 
rose and walked about conversing with Spilbergen 
and his companions, after which permission was at 
length given them to withdraw. 

150 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

On the following day a second audience was 
accorded, at which the Hollander combined the 
shrewdness of the tradesman and the suavity of 
the courtier with such success, that the gratified 
King presented to him all the pepper and cinnamon 
in the Royal Stores, apologising for the smallness of 
the quantity and explaining that not only did he 
never trade in these articles, but that he had even 
caused the cinnamon trees to be destroyed, that they 
might not attract the Portuguese to his dominions. 
Daily interviews followed, for the King could not 
hear too much of this new people, their customs 
and their religion, and the entertainment of the 
visitors was concluded by a banquet at the Palace, 
at which everything was arranged in European 

Eating does not occupy the same position with 
the Oriental that it does with the Western nations. 
As a necessity of the body, something to be ashamed 
of rather than otherwise, it is regulated soberly and 
discreetly. The Tropic^o have not those short days 
of winter confining men within doors, wherein the 
chief if not the only source of pleasure in ruder 
times was to gather round smoking joints of meat 
in the cheering warmth of a great log fire. The 
sun itself conveys to the body so much heat, that 
little has to be provided by man in the way of 
food. The Oriental, moreover, realised that meat 
was not essential for strength, for the strongest 
beast on earth, the elephant, eats no meat. The 
teachings of the Buddha against the taking of life 
had made the Sinhalese almost a race of vegetari- 
ans,* and such little meat as they did use was so 
prepared as entirely to remove all suggestion of blood. 
They had inherited the Hindu reverence for the cow, 
and none would eat beef save the outcaste. Fishing 
was carried on along the coast, and salted fish was 
used by all ; but the occupation itself was regarded 

A Sinhalese Banquet 151 

with disfavour. Rice was the main article of food, 
although accompanied invariably by vegetables, of 
which an abundance could be found even in the 
forest, and which were cooked in a variety of ways. 
Numerous savouries stimulated the jaded appetite, 
and spices, which served both as a disinfectant and 
a digestive, were largely employed; as also was 
curd, for the value of whey was known to the 
East many centuries before Elie Metchnikoff had 
thought about it. The King took his meals alone, 
seated on a stool before a low table covered with 
a white cloth. On the table was laid a golden 
platter, over which was spread a tender plantain 
leaf taken unopened from the heart of a freshly- 
cut tree. Twenty or thirty dishes were usually pre- 
pared and brought to the King in the pans in which 
they were cooked, and whatever he selected was 
served to him with a ladle by a nobleman who had 
a muffler tied round his mouth. Ripe fruit of the 
choicest kinds, brought from localities which had a 
special reputation for them, completed the simple 

It was not, however, to a meal of this kind 
that Spilbergen was summoned, for the King had 
lived long enough among the Portuguese to under 
stand the point of view of the European. Rich 
tapestries hung from the walls, and handsome 
Spanish chairs were ranged about the tables. At 
the conclusion of the banquet the Admiral presented 
Wimala Dharma with a portrait of Prince Maurice 
on his charger, which the King ordered to be hung 
up in his own room, that he might see it the more 
frequently. As a final and unique honour the Holland- 
ers were permitted an interview with the Queen, 
who appeared in European dress. The main portion 
of the costume of a Sinhalese lady leaves the loom 
in the shape and size required for use, and depends 
for its charm not on the skill of the tailor, who 

152 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

occupies a very insignificant position in the scheme 
of society, but on the beauty of the material 
employed and the skill with which it is draped about 
the person. In honour, however, of the visitors, the 
Queen discarded for the occasion her long white 
cloth picked out with gold, and instead wore a dress 
cut according to the Portuguese fashion with which 
her residence at Manar had no doubt rendered her 

However bitter may have been the hostilities 
which existed between Wimala Dharma and the 
Portuguese, both King and Queen had strong Euro- 
pean sympathies. The same feeling prevailed among 
the courtiers, amongst whom were included not 
only refugees from the Low Country, but also 
Portuguese and Mesticos. The King welcomed any- 
one who could wield a good sword, and his Atta- 
pattu or bodyguard included Portuguese, Moors, and 
Kaffirs. Portuguese names were common among the 
nobility, and the language was as familiar to the 
King as his mother tongue. The Portuguese jacket 
and Portuguese cap or barrete, which, though distorted 
almost beyond recognition, still obtain in the Uda 
Rata, are a legacy bequeathed by Wimala Dharma. 
For a whole century Portuguese ideas moulded the 
fashions of the Court at Senkadagala, till they in 
turn gave way to the Dravidian influences which 
asserted themselves during the last century of its 

The visit of the Hollanders had been so accept- 
able to the King, that he declared with Oriental 
hyperbole that if the Prince Maurice desired to 
erect a fort in his dominions, he himself together 
with his Queen would assist in person in carrying 
the stones for the work ; adding that the name of 
his own kingdom was from that day forth Flanders. 

When at length Spilbergen set out for the coast, 
he left behind him as one of his return presents for the 

Sinhalese Music 153 

gifts with which he had been loaded, two of the 
musicians who had accompanied him to the Court— 
a present greatly appreciated by Wimala Dharma, 
who had acquired a taste for Western music. Music 
indeed, as it is understood in the West, is not to be 
found in the East, and Ceylon was even more back- 
ward in that respect than India. The Vina, a primi- 
tive form of violin, was thought highly of, and 
there was also a small drum with a soft note which 
was used to accompany singing ; but apart from 
these the majority of the instruments known to the 
Sinhalese were instruments of percussion, used to 
create sound rather than melody. For military purposes 
the drum is an unrivalled instrument, and in mat- 
ters of ceremonial courtesy took the place which 
the cannon holds to-day among European nations. 
It was an essential element in the processions of 
the Hindu gods worshipped in Ceylon, and attached 
to each Dewale there were tenants whose duty it 
was to accompany their images with this mark of 
honour. Not least, in the medico-religious ceremonies 
of the Sinhalese (devil-dances, as they are called to- 
day), the aim of which was often to work the indi- 
vidual into a condition of ecstasy, the drum proved 
itself as effective an instrument as is, for a similar 
purpose, the band of the Salvation Army. 

In the more temperate climates of the West 
dancing is indulged in not less for the pleasure of 
the performer than that of the spectator. Amongst 
Orientals, however, it has only the latter object. 
It was unheard-of for women to dance at all, except 
in the case of the outcaste Rodi who travelled from 
place to place dancing and tossing brazen trays in 
the air for the purpose of earning a scanty , liveli- 
hood, or of those women who held their lands on the 
condition of performing a religious dance in the 
Dewales at the great festivals. There were, however, 


154 Ceyton and the Portuguese 

dancing men among the palace musicians who were 
trained to dance while accompanying themselves on the 
drum, and who would at the same time extemporise 
songs for hours on end on given themes, in the 
manner which prevailed among the Greeks of the 
time of Theocritus. Singing was indeed a source of 
great delight among the Sinhalese. As Ribeiro says, 
''Their singing is very soft and gives pleasure. Though 
we did not understand what they said, yet we used 
to leave off any occupation in which we were enga- 
ged to listen to them, for their verses were sonor. 
ous and the syllables well rounded." 

A few months later, on the 28th of November, 
the Vice-Admiral Seebald de Weert arrived in com- 
mand of another flotilla. He was hospitably received 
at the Court, and invited to assist in an assault on 
Colombo which the King was then contemplating. 
This he promised to do on condition of being prop- 
erly recompensed for his trouble. On the 14th 
of January he sailed away for Achin taking 
with him a great quantity of cinnamon and pepper, 
a present from the King, who however assured 
him that "he himself was no merchant but a soldier, 
who thought neither of the building of houses 
nor of planting nor of anything else by which he should 
be able to make profit, but only of how he should 
protect his country." 


"According to the exaggerated notions of their religion, 
they do dot kill anything that has life, not even venomous 
snakes. They eat no meat of any kind, neither flesh meat 
nor fish, even if they happen to be ravenously hungry." 
Father Morales in 1552. 


In the meantime de Azavedo was laying his 
plans for yet another attempt to capture the fortress 
of Balane ; for he was confident that the superior 
numbers at his disposal and the demoralisation 
which he believed to have been created among the 
Sinhalese by the last few years of desperate struggle, 
would prevent a repetition of the misfortunes 
which had overwhelmed his predecessor. In January 
1603 his army took the field and advanced to 
Ganetenna, whence roads were opened to the base 
of the mountain on which the Balane fort was 
built. Batteries were stationed on the adjoining 
heights, and a regular siege was organised; but 
such was the strength of the position that little 
progress was made. At length on the first of 
February a villager appeared in the Portuguese 
camp and offered to point out a secret path leading 
up to the stronghold. His offer was accepted, and 
a number of men were sent with him to surprise 
the place. Led by their guide they toiled through 
the night up a steep and precipitous track, and at 
daybreak reached the walls only to find that the 
Sinhalese had disappeared. 

The exultant Portuguese occupied the fort and 
celebrated the event by a solemn service of thanks- 
giving. The lofty eminence whence so keen and 
vigilant a watch had been kept on the approach to 
the last refuge of the Sinhalese was now, after nine 
years of fiercely waged warfare, in their hands, 
and the richest portion of the Low Country of Ceylon 
lay stretched out at their feet, as if depicted on a 
map. Far away to the west could be seen the 

Balane 157 

glitter of the sunlight reflected on the waves of 
the Indian Ocean; the perpendicular side of Nav 
Gala, crowned by the great slab which overhangs 
its base, together with the graceful and castellated 
mass of Utuwan Kan da, occupied the middle distance ; 
while right below them were their forts of Gane- 
tenna and Buddassagoda, with Attapitiya nestling 
beneath Dewanagala, itself overshadowed by the 
sombre grandeur of Ura Kanda and Batala Gala. 
They saw themselves in imagination masters of the 
whole of the beautiful island, and grumbled at the 
apathy of their General in not pressing home his 

De Azavedo, however, was suspicious ; the 
mysterious disappearance of the Sinhalese made him 
uneasy, and he determined to wait for the arrival 
of the experienced Pinhao before taking any further 
action. Nor were his fears groundless, for on the 
fifth morning his Lascarins, without whom the 
Portuguese were helpless in the mountains, deserted 
in a body to the King. It seemed as though de 
Azavedo's army was after all to share the fate of 
de Sousa's. Messengers were secured by heavy 
bribes to warn the garrisons on the road to Colombo, 
and eighty picked men were told off to hold the 
passage by which the enemy was expected, whilst 
with anxious haste the Portuguese made their 
arrangements for the withdrawal. Dawn revealed 
the fact that the surrounding mountains and valleys 
were filled with hostile Sinhalese, whose drums and 
trumpets rent the air. The desperate efforts of the 
gallant eighty kept them at bay till midday, and at 
three o'clock in the afternoon the Portuguese began, 
with the deepest despondency, to evacuate the 
fortress, abandoning everything save the munitions 
of war. The Sinhalese swooped down like vultures 
to plunder the baggage, and were soon in hot 
pursuit, regardless of the terrible fire which was 

158 CeyloH and the Portuguese 

directed against them. The Portuguese were already 
two-thirds of the way down the mountain, when 
to their intense reUef the banners of Pinhao, who 
was hurrying to their assistance, were seen in the 
distance, and by sunset they had succeeded in 
reaching the foot, though with the loss of nearly 
a hundred in killed and wounded. There a message 
was received from Samarakon urging an immediate 
retreat and warning the General that if he did 
not adopt this course, within three days there 
would not be a Portuguese alive in the Island, 
inasmuch as the whole country was in arms. 

Samarakon himself had started with the utmost 
speed to the General's assistance. On the road a 
deputation waited on him and invited him to assume 
the Sinhalese Crown, assuring him that all were 
prepared to lay down their lives for him, and 
pointing out that never before had there been so 
favourable an opportunity of driving the Portuguese 
out of the country. Should he elect, however, to 
cast in his lot with the foreigner, they were unable 
to follow him, for they had already pledged them- 
selves to strike a blow for the common liberty. It 
was a great temptation, but the noble Sinhalese 
scorned the idea of disloyalty to the heir of his 
late master, Dharmapala. He sent private informa- 
tion of what had occured to Pinhao, whilst informing 
the conspirators that Pinhao too was on their side, 
but that it had been decided not to take action 
before arriving at Sitawaka. He therefore begged 
them for the present to observe secresy in regard 
to their plans. 

The Portuguese had by now reached Ganetenna, 
whence stage by stage they retreated to Sitawaka, 
the Sinhalese harassing them all the way just as 
Edirille Rala had done on their flight from Gurube- 
wila. Three hundred Portuguese corpses marked the 
road when on the fifteenth day they crossed the broad 

The Retreat ofde Azavedo 159 

Kelani Ganga and reached Malwana. Here another 
horrible surprise awaited them, for the Sinhalese 
had already attacked and sacked the place, and 
nineteen grinning heads swinging from a tree 
greeted Dom Jeronimo de Azavedo as he returned 
to the palace to which his cruelties had given so 
evil a name. The Nestorian Christians from India, 
who were fighting side by side with the Portuguese, 
and who were rendered useless by the lack of the 
opium to which they were accustomed, had been 
cut down almost to a man. 

For the second time de Azavedo, one of the 
most eminent of Portuguese warriors in the East, 
had been driven in headlong flight before the 
Sinhalese. The loss in men was serious, but the 
loss of prestige was more serious still, and its 
effects were to be seen for many years to come. 
Many of the officers and men who had taken part 
in the retreat, worn out with their exertions and 
finding themselves without a pardao, took the 
opportunity to desert to Colombo. To these last 
the General, who was anxiously laying his plans 
at Malwana, addressed on the 15th of March a 
letter, exhorting and commanding them to rally 
round him there, and adding "I await you here 
with a mat for my table, with bread and beef for 
dainties; that is all that the Sinhalese have left 
to me". 

The appeal was not made in vain, and another 
army was already in the field when Anthony Baretto, 
one of Samarakon's servants who had risen to 
prominence during the retreat, deserted to the Sinha- 
lese with a large body of troops, and moving skil- 
fully in front of them blocked their advance. Before 
long every one of the outposts which had been 
occupied at such cost, and which were intended to 
protect the communications of a triumphant army 

160 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

operating in the Kanda Uda Rata, had fallen into 
the hands of the King, their garrisons being either 
put to the sword or distributed as prisoners among 
the royal villages. Of the conquests of Jayawira 
everything except Galle, which the personal influence 
of Samarakon kept for the Portuguese, was lost. 

The walls of Colombo were in a ruinous state 
and everyone now set himself with desperate energy 
to the task of repairing them. Experience had, how- 
ever, shown that it was almost impossible for the 
Sinhalese, who had no siege artillery, to wrest 
Colombo from the hands of the Portuguese so long as 
the sea remained open. If the Sinhalese had had 
but a few vessels with which to blockade the 
harbour, the Portuguese could scarce have avoided 

It was a critical moment in the history of the 
Island, for on the 25th of April de Weert arrived 
at Batticaloa with the much-needed ships. On the 
first of June news v/as brought to the Hollanders 
that the King, who had a few days before captured 
Menikkadawara, was close at hand ; whereupon de 
Weert went forward to meet him accompanied by 
all his officers and by two hundred of his men. 
Cordial greetings were exchanged with Wimala 
Dharma, after which they proceeded together to 
Sampanturai. There the majority of the Hollanders 
were dismissed with orders to return to their ships, 
but instead of doing so they went about the town 
and got drunk. 

This, the ruling vice of the Hollanders, was to 
exercise so profound an influence upon the subse- 
quent destiny of the Sinhalese race, that it is 
necessary at this point to indulge in a short digres- 
sion with regard to it. The Portuguese, whatever 
the Kaffir troops they brought with them may have 
been, were very temperate, and two thousand years 
of Buddhism, with its prohibition of the use of 

The Betel Leaf 161 

intoxicants, had well-nigh made the Sinhalese a 
nation of total abstainers.^ " Drunkenness they do 
greatly abhor," wrote Robert Knox, "neither are 
there many that do give themselves to it." A 
certain amount of spirits was distilled from coconut 
"toddy," the sap extracted from the inflorescence of 
the coconut palm before it has burst its sheath ; but 
this was mainly for export. The high-caste man 
who touched the degrading stuff was socially 
disgraced, and the possibility of its use by women 
appears to have scarcely presented itself to the 
minds of the Sinhalese. Water was the universal 
drink except among one or two of the lower castes, who 
utilised for the purpose the toddy of some kinds of 
palms; and that craving for a stimulant or sedative 
which appears to be inherent in man was among 
the Sinhalese satisfied by the use of the betel leaf, 
which was obtained from a cultivated vine belong- 
ing to the pepper family. This was masticated, 
together with a slice of the astringent arecanut and 
a pinch of lime, by all classes and at all times, 
and occupied in the social life of the Sinhalese a 
position analogous to that of the pot of tea among 
the Japanese. 

The betel leaf was what the maiden handed 
to her lover; it was the refreshment offered to 
every guest ; it accompanied every invitation to take 
part in a harvesting or to attend a marriage; and 
it often concealed the bribe with which the ' peti- 
tioner sought an interview with the official. The 
nobleman on a journey would be accompanied by a 
long-haired page carrying a large embroidered betel- 
bag slung over his shoulder, while he himself held 
m his hand the richly chased box of gold or silver 
which contained the lime. This mild stimulant largely 
removed the desire for intoxicants, which madden 
the Oriental, and was thus a factor of no small 


162 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

importance in regulating the civic life of the country. 
The use of the betel leaf in place of alcohol rendered 
it possible to control the impulsive Sinhalese by 
a system of penal law which in its mildness was 
several centuries in advance of that which at the 
time prevailed in Europe ; and because drink was one 
of the contributory causes of the subsequent decline 
of the Sinhalese, the arrival of de Weert and his 
drunken myrmidons marks an epoch in the history 
of the country. 

The exact details of the tragedy which followed 
are not known. The King, despite the annoyance 
he felt on learning that contrary to his express 
wishes the Portuguese prisoners captured in the 
neighbourhood of Batticaloa had been set at liberty, 
granted a formal audience to de Weert, whereat 
the latter pressed him to visit him on board ship. 
This, however, the King was not willing to do. The 
question of an attack on Galle was then discussed, 
and the King urgently requested the Hollanders to 
sail thither ; he himself, he said, must return to the 
Capital, where he had left the Queen alone. De 
Weert, who was under the influence of liquor, roundly 
declared that if the King could not visit his ships, 
he for his part would not sail to Galle, and concluded 
with a coarse remark regarding the Queen. The 
exasperated monarch haughtily turned his back upon 
the drunken sailor, bidding the attendant nobles to 
"Bind that dog." Four of them laid hands on him, 
whereupon, catching up his gun and shouting for 
assistance, he attempted to escape from the room. 
One of the nobles, however, seized him by the hair, 
while another drawing his sword struck off his head. 

The King had not been a witness to the 
occurrence and was greatly distressed at the news; 
but the mischief could not be remedied, and it was 
decided that the best course, now that the leader 
was dead, was to kill all. Orders were given to this 

De Weert 163 

effect ; the drunken Hollanders were hunted out of 
the houses, and over fifty of them were put to the 
sword though some escaped by swimming to the 
ships. One young man who was spared was taken 
into the King's service. 

The news of these happenings, no less tragic 
than unexpected, produced consternation on board 
the ships; but the Hollanders were convinced that 
there had been some misunderstanding, and the 
following morning a Sinhalese was sent ashore with a 
letter. Shortly afterwards a curt epistle was received 
from the King. "He who drinks wine," wrote the 
latter, "is vile. God has wrought justice. If you 
desire peace, it is peace. If war, war." 

A submissive reply was promptly despatched 
to the King who was already on his way back to 
his capital, and a fortnight later a messenger arrived 
from him with a letter in which he asserted that 
his attitude towards the Hollanders was still unchanged 
and invited them to assist him to capture Colombo 
and Galle. The negotiations, however, proved fruit- 
less and on the 28th of July the fleet sailed away 
without having effected anything. The folly of a 
drunken Hollander had prevented the expulsion of 
the Portuguese from Ceylon. 

Hostilities still dragged on. Samarakon, who 
had been sent to assist the Portuguese, was unable 
to effect anything, and de Azavedo, dissatisfied with 
the conduct of the great Sinhalese, had him arrested 
and sent in chains to Goa whence he never returned 
to his native land. No events of importance marked 
the remainder of the year, for the nations were 
too much exhausted for action ; but early in 
1604 the complexion of affairs was entirely altered 
by the death of Wimala Dharma, Continual exposure 
had wrought its effects on that frame of steel, and 
frequent attacks of fever warned him that he had 
not long to live- The weary King began to set his 

164 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

house in order. Summoning his Ministers to his 
chamber he presented to them the Regent during 
the minority of his son Astana Bandara, his cousin 
Senerat, who had doffed the robes of the priesthood, 
and called on them to promise him their support 
and allegiance. The aged chiefs stood silent, the 
tears flowing down their stern war-worn faces, while 
the Chief Minister made the required promise in the 
name of all. They then withdrew, and the still 
youthful Queen with her infant children were called 
in and solemnly entrusted to the care and protection 
of the Regent. 

A mile to the North of the modern town of 
Kandy lies the hill of Asgiriya. The curious visitor 
who has the courage to approach it through its 
squalid surroundings will see little beside a small 
patch of bare grass, beyond which a few aged trees, 
with heavily-scented flowers of the colour of ivory, 
overshadow a small temple of massive stone. Beneath 
is the railway tunnel from which now and again 
rise puffs of sooty smoke ; and close by stands a 
Christian school— symbolic, perhaps, of the possibility 
of revivifying a moribund race. It was on this spot 
that for centuries the rulers of Senkadagala were 

Here a great pyre was raised, heaped with the 
richest spices of the East. Accompanied by the 
shrill wailing of fifes and the dreary roll of the 
funeral drums, the body was borne in slow proces- 
sion followed by thousands who had known well 
that bearded face and tall figure. In a few hours 
nothing remained but a heap of ashes ; though when 
they came to be removed, the heart — that brave 
heart which had ever throbbed responsive to the call 
of country — was found untouched by the fire. 

A sigh of thankfulness rose up from Portuguese 
Asia as the Sword of State was transferred to the 

Portuguese Policy 165 

hesitating grasp of the ex-priest. A veil of obscu- 
rity now descended on events in the Uda Rata, 
which during the next seven years was but rarely 
lifted to permit of a glimpse of what was being 
carried on behind it. King Philip was thoroughly 
weary of the war. He suggested that a diversion 
might be effected among the Sinhalese by setting 
up as a rival claimant to the throne the Prince Dom 
Joao, who was still being educated at the College 
of the Kings at Goa, but his suggestion was not 
adopted. Instead, the Prince was shortly afterwards 
sent to Europe. The Viceroy for his part was busy 
preparing a great expedition intended to crush the 
rising power of the Hollanders in the Southern Seas, 
and he instructed de Azavedo to confine himself, 
till his return, to Colombo and Galle. 

In the meantime bitter and by no means 
groundless complaints had begun to be heard on 
every side against the oppression and tyranny exer- 
cised by the Portuguese officials over the natives, 
who had been led to expect from them purer justice 
than that which they had received at the hands of 
their own Chiefs. The revenue derived from the 
pearl fishery was not properly accounted for, and 
munitions of war were being systematically smug- 
gled into the enemy's country even from the Portu- 
guese settlements in South India. Above all there 
was the haunting fear of the machinations of the 
Hollanders, whose ships had been already seen off 
the Western Coast, and who were known to be 
supplied with information by spies in Colombo. 

With the death of Wimala Dharma, however, 
there came a change. The General reported to King 
Philip that the policy of concentration recommended 
by the Viceroy would have disastrous effects on the 
minds of the Sinhalese who still remained loyal to 
the Portuguese power, and that it would at the same 
time enable the Hollanders to obtain a footing in 

166 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the Island. He was confident, he wrote, that the 
immediate addition of three hundred soldiers to his 
army would enable him to conquer Ceylon once for 
all. King Philip agreed. The work of conquest had 
already consumed so much blood and treasure that 
it was no longer possible to draw back. A strict 
inquiry was ordered into the conduct of the peccant 
officials, while instructions were issued that the des- 
patch of vessels from the suspected ports should be 
closely supervised, and the coast from Manar to 
Galle blocked to prevent all external intercourse with 
the Sinhalese, who would thus be deprived of certain 
of the necessaries of life which the Island itself did 
not produce. 

Of these not the least important was cloth, 
the bulk of what was used in Ceylon being imported 
from India. Secondly, there was opium which was 
consumed in great quantities by the Sinhalese, who 
found in it a powerful preventive against several 
of the diseases incidental to a hot and excessively 
damp country, though it does not appear that the 
abuse of the drug was common. The most pressing 
need of all, however, among the people of the high- 
lands was salt, which was not found in their coun- 
try and which was obtained mainly from the salt- 
pans beyond the Walawe Ganga, another source of 
supply being the Chilaw district, while a fair quan- 
tity came from Trincomalee and Jaffna. This local 
salt, which was conveyed to the Uda Rata on the 
backs of bullocks during the dry season, was usually 
obtained by the process of solar evaporation of the 
brine — a process which had been made use of in 
China for untold ages, and which was probably 
imported from that country. The demand, however, was 
greater than the supply, and had to be met by large 
shipments from South India. The Portuguese were 
of opinion that if the supply of these three commo- 
dities could be cut off for a period of three years 

Portuguese Policy 167 

the Sinhalese would be forced into submission, and 
King Philip ordered that every effort should be made 
to carry this plan into effect. 

Orders were also given that the fortifications 
both of Galle and of Colombo should be strengthened 
without delay, for the former by its position as the 
most southerly port in this part of Asia was of the 
greatest value for the maintenance of the trade with 
the Southern Seas ; and it was feared that the 
Hollanders would attempt to capture the place. The 
King was indeed anxious that a dockyard and arsenal 
should be constructed there, but was thwarted by 
the local authorities, who could not be induced to 
take the necessary action. The Customs duties, the 
revenues from Manar, and the tribute of several of 
the South Indian Princes were, however, placed at 
the disposal of the General for the purposes of 
the war ; and the Bishop of Cochin,2 under whose 
spiritual jurisdiction Ceylon had been placed, was 
invited to visit the Island no less to encourage the 
soldiers than to see that the natives were treated 
with justice and clemency by the officials, who were 
strictly prohibited from engaging directly or indirectly 
in mercantile pursuits. 

Nor was Senerat the only foe ; Satan had to 
be combated as well ; for not only was the possession 
of a country of vast resources and of great import- 
ance to the Indian Dominion at stake, but also the 
souls of thirty thousand professing Christians, whose 
salvation would be in jeopardy should they fall into 
the hands of their infidel brethren, or into those of 
the heretical Hollanders. Amongst other things it 
was ordered that no Sinhalese should be baptised 
till he had been decently catechised and instructed, 
for the King had been informed that evil results had 
arisen from laxity on this point. Six years before 
his predecessor had given instructions that a larger 
number of priests should be sent to the Island, and 

168 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

that those who were engaged there, whether in 
education or in preaching the gospel, should render 
themselves thoroughly familiar with the native 
languages ; for preaching through the medium of an 
interpreter had not been found to be a success. 
Accordingly in April 1602 the Jesuits, who had been 
established for some time in India, sent a few of 
their members to begin work in Ceylon. They were, 
in spite of the opposition of the Franciscans, 
welcomed by de Azavedo, ^ whose own brother had been 
a very distinguished member of the Society. De 
Azavedo built for them at his own expense their 
Casa in Colombo, and assigned to them the sixty- 
two villages which had formed the domain of the 
Munnesseram Temple, together with some valuable 
royal villages. The Dominicans and the Augustinians 
soon afterwards followed, and an attempt was made 
to apportion the various spheres within which each 
of the Orders was to operate, though it was found 
in practice that this division was not adhered to. 

Something more than missionary enthusiasm, 
however, was required if the power of the Portu- 
guese was to be maintained in Ceylon, and this the 
political authorities at Goa were unable to supply; 
for all available resources were diverted towards the 
expedition which in 1606 the Viceroy Dom Affonco 
de Castro led in person to the Southern Seas. With 
the Viceroy went Samarakon Rala, to whom the King 
had tried to make amends for the gross injustice 
which he had received at the hands of de Azavedo. 
Orders had been issued that the Sinhalese noble 
should be treated with every consideration, that all 
the property which had been taken from him should 
be restored, and that the requirements of himself 
and of his family should be amply provided for. He 
was even appointed Captain of Goa, a position which 
gave him a seat in the Viceroy's Council of State 

Portuguese Oppression 169 

and of War^ — a distinction such as probably has never 
during the next three hundred years, been conferred 
by a European Government on an Oriental. 

The fleet which accompanied the Viceroy was 
the largest that ever set sail from Goa. A series 
of obstinately contested fights ended in the total 
failure of the Portuguese to achieve their object, and 
the Viceroy himself died of a broken heart at 
Malacca in June 1607. It was therefore out of the 
question to expect help from Goa, while, as the 
Councillors of Colombo wrote to inform the King, 
Ceylon was "eating up the State by the sackful." 
In the three years preceding 1609 only fifty men 
were received from India, and all that de Azavedo 
was able to do was to send two expeditions a year 
into the enemy's country to kill whomsoever they 
could and to bring back what food they could lay 
their hands on. Pinhao and Correa,* together with 
Dom Constantino Navaratna, a scion of the royal 
family who had succeeded Samarakon at Matara, 
usually headed these expeditions, but for which the 
Portuguese would have had little enough to eat. 

The disappointment of de Azavedo found vent 
in an increase of ferocity, while the actions of the minor 
officials went unchecked, each assuming to himself 
such authority as he found convenient. The natives 
of the country were ground down under exactions 
of terrible severity ; their venerated temples were 
ruthlessly destroyed on every side; and while the 
services of loyal men like Samarakon were so ill 
requited, renegades of the stamp of Correa were 
received with open arms, and promoted to positions 
of great power and responsibility. The fortifications 
of Colombo were so neglected that cattle could easily 
make their way over the walls; there was no 
hospital worthy of the name, and the soldiers were 
dying of hunger and privation, with their wages 


170 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

unpaid, and in clothes that were Iktle better than 
raw hides. The Frenchman Pyrard de Laval, who 
visited the Island in 1608, has left it on record that 
the Portuguese soldiers were mostly criminals and 
exiles, and that only women of ill-fame were sent 
thither. What he adds is therefore the less surpris- 
ing : that "the Sinhalese will not kill their Portu- 
guese prisoners, but merely cut off their noses and 
send them back ; for they say that they will not 
have their soil polluted by the bodies and blood of 

It was, on the other hand, a common occur- 
rence for soldiers who had committed criminal 
offences to desert to the Sinhalese to avoid the 
consequences of their acts. To meet this difficulty 
Colombo had been created a sanctuary, in which 
capacity it was succeeded by Galle in 1610. The 
offender who took sanctuary could not be arrested 
except it were for lese majeste, false coining, or the 
murder of a sheriff or judge. 

The twenty years prior to 1610 had cost twelve 
thousand Portuguese lives and half a million cruza- 
dos of treasure, but the end seemed to be further 
off than ever, a condition of things which the writer 
of a secret memorial on the subject addressed 
to King Philip finds no difficulty in explaining. "I 
assert that the ultimate reason is," he says, "that we 
Portuguese are evil Christians, with little fear of 

Under such circumstances it is not surprising 
that the King should express his bitter disappoint- 
ment at the failure of an undertaking which he had 
so much at heart. And yet a more favourable 
opportunity for finishing the work could hardly have 
been demanded, for in 1609— in which year also 
Senerat, who had married the widowed Queen and 
crushed all resistance, consolidated his position by 
assuming the Crown— a twelve years ' truce had been 

Marcellus de Boschouwer 171 

concluded with the United Provinces, a truce which 
constituted a formal admission of the independence 
of the latter. 

It was not, however, till 1611 that the Indian 
authorities were able to place seven hundred soldiers 
at the disposal of de Azavedo. In August of that 
year he took the field in person, and in spite of some 
resistance at the passage of the Mahaweli Ganga, 
occupied and burnt the capital, which was found 
deserted. After laying waste the countryside he 
returned to Colombo, leaving a garrison at Balane. 

Ever since the death of Wimala Dharma, King 
Senerat had maintained a good understanding with 
the Hollanders; and on the 8th of March 1612 
Marcellus de Boschouwer, their Under Factor, presented 
himself at the Sinhalese Court, armed with letters 
from the Estates General and Prince Maurice of 
Orange addressed to 'The Most Illustrious and 
Most Noble Emperor of Ceylon, Our Beloved Brother 
in the Wars." So successful was his mission that 
on the 11th of May a treaty was entered into 
between the Sinhalese and the Hollanders by which 
the two contracting parties agreed to assist each 
other against the Portuguese, while the Hollanders 
were given permission to erect at Kottiyar on the 
east of the Island a fortress which would give them 
the control of the finest anchorage in the Indian 
Ocean. Commerce between the two races was to 
be unrestricted, each side, however, being subject to 
the exclusive criminal jurisdiction of its own officers. 
The King further ageed to confer on the Hollanders 
the monopoly of the trade in cinnamon, precious 
stones and pearls, though he reserved to himself the 
right to coin money. It was also provided that two 
Hollanders should have seats in his Council of war. 

Such favour indeed did Boschouwer find with 
the King, that the latter could not be induced to 
permit him to return. The golden headband of a 

172 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Sinhalese dignitary was conferred upon him, and he 
took his place among the nobles of Senerat's Court 
with the name of Migamuwe Rala, from the seaport 
of Negumbo which was granted to him for his support. 


1. Three hundred years of European influence have brought 
about a change, and the revenue derived by Government 
out of the arrack and toddy trade for the year 1918-19 
amounted to Rs. 9,265,315. To this must be added the revenue 
obtained from foreign spirits and cordials. 

2. This bishopric was created by a Bull of Paul IV. dated 
4 February 1557. 

3. Writing to the Viceroy on 26th of November 1602 to thank 
him for sending the Jesuits, de Azavedo says : "Your lord- 
ship will have great merit before God our Lord for this 
work," Owing largely to de Azavedo's exertions the Jesuits 
were enabled in 1605 to open a College in Colombo, where 
the scions of the Sinhalese nobility were taught reading, 
writing, singing, divinity, bons custumes and Latin. See 
Ceylon Antiquary, Vol. II. 

4. Under a Royal Order of 1604 this consisted of the 
Viceroy as President, the Chief Ecclesiastical Functionary, 
the Chancellor of the State, the Vedor da Fazenda, the 
Captain of Goa, and the Secretary of the State. 

5. Hieronymus Gomez, writing on the 29th of December 1609, 
gives us the following account of an incident which took 
place on one of these expeditions. "Two hundred men, 
women and children were taken. Gathering them all into 
a field, Simon Correa, a Sinhalese Captain, gave orders to 
beat them to death. The poor people all kept together 
like sheep, and bore the blows without running away or 
stirring, without a sigh or a groan. A Portuguese Cap- 
tain noticed that there were among them some innocent 
children in the arms of their mothers, and since he could 
do nothing to save their temporal lives, he wished to give 
them spiritual life, and hence he baptised them all. They 
were afterwards beheaded to give them a more lenient 
death." Ceylon Antiquary II, 22. Correa was as ardent an 
admirer of the Jesuits as his instructor de Azavedo, and 
presented to them a coconut garden. 


In December 1612 de Azavedo sailed away to 
assume duties as Viceroy at Goa. Although from a 
military standpoint his eighteen years in Ceylon had 
been a record of failure, during that period there 
had been carried out certain administrative changes 
which it is desirable to notice at this stage. 

In 1608 the King had despatched to Ceylon 
Antao Vaz Ferreira, a Fidalgo of the Household, 
with the title of Vedor, and a Commission to 
re-organise the Fiscal affairs of the island. Five native 
officials of high rank were attached to him, one at 
least of whom had served at the Court of Raja 
Sinha. The best known of them was Alagiyawanna, 
who had now become a convert to Christianity, 
under the name of Dom Jeronimo, no doubt in 
compliment to the General himself. A delightful story 
has been preserved by Tavernier as current in India 
in his time with reference to this conversion. At 
Alagiyawanna's request the Jesuits had given him a 
copy of the New Testament. In six months' time 
he came back to them and expressed his desire to 
be converted, adding however that there was one 
matter which troubled him : he could not find, he 
said, by his reading, that Jesus Christ ever took 
money of anyone, while the missionaries took all that 
they could get, and never buried or baptised unless 
they were well paid. The question was a not unnatural 
one from a Buddhist, whose priests could receive no 
payment for any services they might render ; but 
the Jesuits do not appear to have had much difficulty 
in overcoming his scruples. It is interesting to note 
that his new duties did not prevent Alagiyawanna 

The Tombo 175 

from following the Muse he loved ; his greatest 
poem, the Kusa Jataka, which is based on one of the 
Birth Stories of the Buddha, was issued in 1610 and 
deservedly holds a prominent place in Sinhalese 

The most urgent duty which fell to the Vedor 
was the preparation of a Tombo, or Register, of 
all the districts which acknowledged European rule. 
The carefully organised and elaborate system of land 
tenure— under which each parcel of cultivated ground 
was rendered liable, in accordance with the caste 
of its possessor, to contribute its quota of service 
towards the maintenance of the common wealth — 
had for centuries reduced to a minimum the actual 
pecuniary expenditure on administration and defence 
of the central government. The system depended 
for its success on the accuracy of the Tombo being 
beyond dispute, and the elaborate inquiries which 
it necessitated engaged Ferreira for several years. 
Each Korale was visited in turn by the Vedor, who 
summoned a few of the notables of the District to 
assist him in scrutinising the lists which the 
Mohottalas or Secretaries of the Disawas produced. 
The descriptions of the various holdings, together with 
the titles of those who held them, the income yielded 
by each, and the dues to which they were liable, 
were entered in the new register, each page of which 
was signed by the Vedor and numbered. 

The initial difficulty to be encountered was 
that the Mohottalas' Rolls for several of the districts 
were missing. In such cases the officers responsible 
were called upon to take an oath to the effect that 
the Rolls were not in their possession. These lists, 
which had been inscribed on palm leaves, had in 
fact perished in the course of the recent desolating 
wars, and de Azavedo was in a position to assure 
the Vedor that it was useless to make further 
search for them. Their loss, however, was the less 

176 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

serious, in that there was amongst the natives Uttle 
disposition to evade the summons to produce title 
deeds, although it called forth considerable obstruc- 
tion on the part of the various Portuguese corpor- 
ations, not least on that of the Camara or Municipal 
Chamber of Colombo— "the Cidade of Sao Lourenco" 
as it was called. It was intended that when 
complete the Tombo should be laid before a Junta or 
Board which would be ordered to assemble at 
Colombo for the purpose of revising it and of deciding 
on the quit-rent for each village, as a preliminary 
to its allotment. From the villages which the piety 
of Sinhalese Kings had set apart for the service 
of the Temples, a sufficient number was to 
be allotted for the maintenance of the various 
religious establishments throughout the Island, the 
grants being made during the King's pleasure with 
a view to such changes as the developments of the 
future might necessitate. Any of these villages which 
should remain after such allotment were to be dealt 
with in the ordinary course. The preliminary investi- 
gation revealed that several of them had recently 
been granted away without authority, and the 
cancellation of all such grants was ordered. This reso- 
lution was the source of much trouble with all the 
Orders concerned. The Jesuits who held the sixty- 
two villages of the Munnesseram Temple were, like 
the Dominicans and Augustinians, granted money 
allowances in compensation, but it was found to be 
more difficult to meet the claims of the Franciscans. 

A Franciscan had accompanied de Almeida to 
Ceylon in 1505, and the Franciscans were the first 
missionaries to be sent out at the request of 
Bhuwaneka Bahu; but if they were missionaries of 
the Church of Christ, they never forgot that they 
were also subjects of the King of Portugal. Wher- 
ever there was danger to body or soul, there the 
Franciscan was to be found, not only nursing the 

The Franciscans 177 

wounded and providing the consolations of religion 
to the dying, but leading with crucifix and sword 
in many a bloody battle. It was claimed by the 
Franciscans that as early as 1554 an Alvara had 
been signed by the Portuguese King confining the 
work in Ceylon to their Order. However that may 
be, it is certain that a proclamation to this effect 
was issued on the 10th of March, 1593, and four 
years later an attempt was made to obtain the 
consent of the Pope to the arrangement. The trouble 
arose over the grant which Dharmapala had made 
to them in the first fervour of his conversion. This 
grant had been subsequently confirmed three times ; 
but in 1598, shortly after Dharmapala's death. King 
Philip, on the advice of the Bishop of Cochin, had 
declined to ratify it, holding out to the Order the 
dubious consolation that this would be entirely in 
accordance with their Statutes. The Franciscans, 
however, were not prepared to submit to so great 
a deprivation without a struggle, and succeeded in 
obtaining from the Mesa de Consciencia' a ruling to 
the effect that the King of Portugal as the heir of 
Dharmapala was bound to uphold his grant. An 
attempt on the part of Ferreira, acting under the 
directions of the Viceroy, to take forcible possession 
of the villages under dispute led to an appeal to 
law on that of the Franciscans, who brought a suit 
against the King's Proctor. The question was there- 
fore re-opened with a result which will be shown 

The villages which had formerly belonged to 
the Temples being thus dealt with, the ancient 
Gabadagan or Royal Villages were next separated 
for the benefit of the King's Treasury. These had 
been wont to supply the Court with most of the 
provisions which were required for the maintenance 
of the various great establishments which went to 
compose it, but it was obvious that it was no longer 


178 Ceylon and the Portuguess 

to the interest of the Crown to utilise them on the 
ancient lines. A large revenue was expected from 
them, and they were disposed of like the rest of 
the villages, some being allotted to private parties, 
when they were known as Nindagan, some rented 
out, and a few reserved to provide for the military 
needs of the country. These lait were selected in 
such a way that the troops on the march could 
thus be conveniently supplied with provisions from 
them, while the Captains in charge of the various 
stations occupied by the Portuguese were allowed 
certain villages to assist them in feeding their men. 

Of the remainder of the villages which were 
now available for distribution, the best were reserved 
for such of the Portuguese as had specially distin- 
guished themselves in the work of conquest in India 
and Ceylon, and for native Christians who had served 
with loyalty in high o.Tice, the smaller ones being 
allotted to the Mudaliyars, Arachchis and Lascarins, 
either as gifts or by way of remuneration for 
services rendered. Tnose Portuguese to whom lands 
were granted were obliged as an essential condition 
of the grant, to take up their residence within the 
Island; grantees who were of Sinhalese nationality 
were expected to live with their families in the 
various fortresses along with the Portuguese who 
had their villages in the neighbourhood. Great hopes 
were entertained that the social intercourse which 
was expected to follow from the proximity of the 
two races would lead to greater security, while 
educating the natives and rendering them more 
acquiescent in the rule of the foreigner. 

In the case of the Portuguese the grants were 
for two or three lives, with succession open to the 
female line also and a restriction against alienation ; 
the natives of the country, however, at first held 
their grants only during pleasure, as appears to have 

Nindagama Tenure IW 

been the custom under the Sinhalese Kings ; though 
a more liberal policy was subsequently adopted, the 
grants being made for life. 

The intention of the Sinhalese Kings in 
assigning these villages had been to make such 
provision for the favoured individual as would maintain 
him in comfort in accordance with the simple 
standard of living which prevailed at the time. So 
long as he held his Nindagama he was entitled to 
all the benefits which the King was wont to receive 
therefrom. The provision extended to every detail 
of the grantee's domestic economy, as well as to 
the safeguarding of his Walauwa or residence, and 
person, and the due maintenance of his position; 
and all this without any expenditure of money on 
his part. The tenants of his village cultivated his 
rice fields and conveyed the produce to his store, 
which they themselves built and kept in repair. 
Every night they guarded him against the inroads 
of robbers or the attacks of wild beasts ; and in the 
morning, whilst some swept the immediate precincts 
of his mansion, others attended him to the bath 
and prepared food for his use, or handed to him 
the betel which was his only stimulant. In like 
manner the damsels of his village were the attendants 
of his wife and the companions of his daughter. 
If he had to appear at Court, his tenants escorted 
him thither and carried the various necessaries for 
the journey, holding over him the while the palm- 
leaf umbrella which was as much an emblem of his 
dignity as a protection against the sun. In war they 
defended his person, sacrificing their lives to save 
his; in sickness they waited at his bedside; and at 
his death they conveyed his corpse to the funeral 

The entire social scheme of the Sinhalese 
centred round the idea of caste, "which," to quote 
Knox, "is not according to the Riches or Places of 

180 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Honour the King promotes them to, but according 
to their Descent and Blood." "Riches," he adds, 
"cannot prevail with them in the least to marry 
with those by whom they must eclipse and stain 
the Honour of their family. ... It is the Birth and 
Family which ennobleth them." Persons of the highest 
caste were known among them by the proud title of 
Handuru — Swami dafuwo, the Lord's Children^ — a term 
which strictly speaking pertained to Royalty alone. 
The wearing of a covering above the waist, the 
length of the cloth below the knees, the colour of 
the cap, and other petty distinctions separated the 
high-born from the less fortunate. 

In the hands of the Sinhalese the system 
had worked satisfactorily and had produced a 
people who were in the main happy and contented 
with their lot. There was little oppression, 
and no man needed to lack the few things 
essential to existence in the favoured climate of 
Ceylon. The lord of the Nindagama was the 
father of the village, and under him all the inter- 
dependent castes worked in perfect harmony. When, 
however, the stranger took the place of the Sinhalese 
nobleman, he found ready to his hand a rod of 
tyranny which he was not slow to use. Taking no 
interest in the villagers themselves, his one anxiety 
was to make the utmost profit he could out of his 
unhappy dependents during the brief period of his 
authority over them. His natural callousness to 
suffering led him , to acts of appalling cruelty; and 
his insatiable craving for gold brought into being a 
state of affairs which, perhaps, has found its counter- 
part only in the Crown Domain of the Congo and 
in the rubber forests of Peru. Bright and cheerful 
as is the Portuguese side of the picture as presented 
to us by Joao Ribeiro, it had a terribly dark back- 
ground which will be set forth in a later chapter. 

It has already been said that the Disawas of 
the four great Provinces were responsible for their 

Internal Administration 181 

administration. This they carried on through minor, 
officials styled Korale Vidanes, who performed certain 
judicial functions and had also the control of large 
numbers of tenants liable to render various services 
to the Crown without remuneration. It was, however, 
found in practice that these tenants did only what 
the Vidanes ordered them to do, and that the latter 
utilised their services for their own private benefit, to 
the great loss of the Treasury. The Vidanes exercised, 
moreover, an undesirable influence over the fighting 
men, a circumstance which had been an important 
factor in the various rebellions which had recently 
occured. Correa for instance was the Vidane over 
nine Korales, and the only service which he had 
to render was to maintain six hundred fighting men. 
With a view to eliminating this source of danger 
the King recommended that the Sinhalese Vidanes 
should be replaced by Portuguese, and that Correa 
himself, who had always been a suspect, should be 
deported to Goa. It was, however, pointed out to 
him that such a policy would create a degree of 
dissatisfaction among the more influential natives, 
which might prove a serious menace to the peace 
of the country ; and that it would be better to 
introduce the practice by slow degrees, starting with 
the more settled districts. 

One of the tasks imposed on the Vedor was 
to see to the proper enforcement of the claims of 
the Crown to the services of the various tenants. 
Above all they were to be prevented from selling 
the guns which they made to anyone save the King, 
who was anxious, if possible, to concentrate all the 
gun-smiths— whom in spite of their holdings it was 
found necessary to feed and clothe while on the 
King's service, since these holdings sufficed only for 
the support of the family during the absence of its 
head— in Colombo and Galle, to prevent their trading 
with the enemy. Strong objection was, however, 

182 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

raised to this proposal, and it was finally decided 
to be in every way undesirable to alter a practice 
which had existed from ancient times. 

The skill of the artisans of Ceylon, inherited 
and perfected through generations of the caste 
system, was the subject of admiration throughout 
India, where their gold and silver work, their 
carvings of ivory and their weapons of steel were 
preferred to all others. "They make the fairest 
barrels for pieces that may be found in any place,which 
shine as bright as if they were silver." John Huyghen 
van Linschoten has recorded that an ivory crucifix 
presented in 1585 to the Archbishop of Goa by a native 
of Ceylon was considered such a masterpiece, that 
that prelate "caused it to be put in a case and 
sent unto the King of Spaine, as a thing to be 
wondered at, and worthy of so great a lord, to be 
kept among his costliest jewels." 

Another of the Vedor's duties was the 
supervision of the collection of the royal dues, 
whether money dues or dues paid in kind. The 
proceeds of these latter were stored in the Factory 
at Colombo, whence nothing was issued save by his 
order. Such issues were made only for despatch to 
Portugal by way of Goa, or for the service of the 
navy. Whatever remained unused at the end of 
the year was sold under his direction and the 
proceeds deposited in a chest secured with three 
keys, with the management of which the Captains 
of Colombo were strictly forbidden to interfere- All 
receipts were entered in a book which was itself 
locked up in the chest, and separate acknowledgments 
were given in respect of each transaction. In similar 
manner every payment had to pass : both the 
Vedor and the Factor, who in turn were restricted 
by the annual statement of authorised expenses. 

The Cinnamon Trade 183 

So long indeed as the war of Conquest was 
in progress the General was permitted to make 
extraordinary requisitions on this chest, but such 
requisitions also had to bear the Vedor's vise, and 
the General was responsible for them to the Viceroy. 
Moreover they could in no case be made on any 
of the sub-accountants. Needless to say the Generals 
regarded the Vedor as a natural enemy, and the 
friction arising from the attempts of the former to 
interfere with the public funds was so great as 
seriously to embarrass the conduct of aff jirs, and to 
be a source of vexation to the King himself. Parti- 
cularly did this friction arise with regard to the 
trade in cinnamon, which has been described as 
,"the bride round whom they all in Ceylon.^" 
The jealousy with which this' trade was guarded 
may be judged from the fact that in 1584 Dharmapala 
himself in his poverty had to apply for the special 
authority of the King of Portugal to export fifty 
quintals* of the article to Portugal, and was refused 
the necessary permission, being instead presented 
with a thousand cruzados. Indeed from a very early 
period of the Portuguese occupation the Sinhalese 
King had to content himself with exporting for his 
own benefit the quantity allowed him by the 
authorities at Goa. In 1558, in consideration of the 
fact of Dharmapala's having become a Christian, 
this quantity was increased to one hundred bahars*. 

The actual handling of the cinnamon was 
rented out to the Captains of Colombo, and was a 
serious trial to the honesty of these officers. The 
King did not approve of his Treasury paying all 
the expenses while the Captains took all the profits, 
and in 1589 he ordered an inquiry to be made into 
the matter. De Azavedo had secured the right for 
himself for a period of three years, and had to be 
sharply reminded that such a proceeding was improper 
in a General entrusted with the work of Conquest, 

i84 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Later, in 1614, the trade was declared a strict royal 
monopoly, and private parties attempting to collect 
or deal in cinnamon were made subject to banishment 
for five years to the armada of the South, while 
the amount to be collected annually was fixed for 
the time being at a thousand bahars. 

Once a year one ol the King's ships set out 
from Colombo, to which port the trade was confined 
in 1594, with the annual cargo of this spice. The 
Captain in charge of the voyage was originally allowed 
a specified quantity of the cinnamon as remunera- 
tion, but this was subsequently comm.uted for a 
money payment. This shipment to Goa was made 
about the time of the expected arrival of the annual 
fleet from Portugal. A specially trustworthy 
person was elected to conduct the negotiations, and the 
General was expected to be in Colombo in person at the 
time in order to prevent any smuggling, while the Vedor 
issued a certificate setting out the number of the 
bales shipped, which had to be checked at Goa. On 
being landed the cargo was sold as early as possible, 
to enable the officer in charge to return to Ceylon 
with the proceeds by the next monsoon. This money 
was kept in a separate chest apart from the other 
revenues, and the statement of the am.ount realised 
submitted to the Vedor, was by him forv/arded for 
his information to the General, who in turn sent it 
on to the Viceroy. 

Over-production of cinnamon had led to a 
great depreciation in value, but it was hoped that 
by restricting the supply for some years the price 
could be forced up to its former figure, when it was 
anticipated that the profits of this trade alone would 
meet all the expenses of the conquest. With a view 
to securing its more efficient working, a Portuguese 
was placed in charge of the entire department as 

Internal Revenue 18^ 

Of the minor sources of revenue of which 
the Vedor had the oversight, the Elephant depart- 
ment was managed by Sinhalese Vidanes under his 
general supervision, the villages which had origin- 
ally been assigned to it by the Sinhalese Kings 
being re-distributed among the men who were engaged 
in the capture, taming and maintenance of the animals. 
The Pearl Fishery, which had formerly been rented 
out by the Captains of Manar, who had sent armed 
vessels to guard the place, had latterly suffered in 
consequence of a policy of showing favour to the 
divers who had begun to turn Christian, and as a 
result the revenue obtained therefrom had steadily 
diminished. The Jesuits who were in charge of the 
work of conversion accused the Captains of oppres- 
sion, while the latter retorted that the true explana- 
tion of the unsatisfactory state of affairs lay in the 
laziness of the divers, who were pampered by the 
Jesuits, It had been the custom to assign the whole 
of one day's fishery to shoe the wife of the Captain, 
and the interfering action of the Jesuits in stopping 
this convenient perquisite did not tend to increase 
the good feeling between the parties. Moreover the 
Fishery sustained yet further damage from the quar- 
rels which arose between the Jesuits and the Bishop 
of Cochin. The loss to the Treasury was serious. 
No fishery at all was held from 1604 to 1612, and 
it was even proposed by the King to settle a colony 
of the Parawa divers on the West of Ceylon, that 
the work might be carried on without friction. The 
suggestion however was not acted upon. 

In view of the disturbed condition of the 
country little profit was to be obtained from the 
gems, though the experiment was tried of sending 
what few could be got together to the markets of 
Goa and Cochin. The lands which bore the gems 
were concealed from the Portuguese by the natives 


186 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

of the country, and though a Portuguese was appointed 
Vidane over the work of collecting them, it only 
proved to be one more field for peculation. 

An attempt was made to stimulate the cultiva- 
tion of pepper by compelling the payment of a 
portion of the village quit-rents in this spice, but 
without adequate results. The arecanut, on the other 
hand, which had always been a source of revenue 
to the Sinhalese Kings, was at this period in great 
demand in India, as has already been stated. De 
Azavedo was not slow to take advantage of this. 
He secured for himself the seignory of every village 
where the nut was produced in any quantity, pay- 
ing for it at a moderate fixed rate. The increase 
in the profits arising from the trade was so great 
that it led to what in the financial jargon of today 
is called a "boom," the terrible consequences of 
which to the unfortunate villager will be set forth 
later. At the same time the competition of the 
subject led not unnaturally to a great diminution in 
the profits of the King. 

Under the native Kings where a man had 
died without male issue all his property had escheated 
to the Crown, and in other cases his estate had 
been liable to a third of its extent. This oppressive 
exaction, which was known by the name of Marala, 
which in meaning corresponds almost exactly to the 
term Death Duty, obtained also under the Great 
Mogul, and was calculated to prevent all accumula- 
tion of wealth in the hands of private individuals, 
as well as to stifle all desire to improve property. 
This too was probably one of the reasons why it 
was customary for villagers to bury such money as 
came into their possession ; for the villager knew 
no Bank so secure as the ground under his fire- 
place. The levy was continued by the Portuguese, 
though in order to encourage conversion, its severity 
was relaxed in the case of Christians. 

Internal Revenue 187 

The 50,000 odd headmen also were each 
expected to pay a pardao a year, and the amount so 
contributed appears to have been at the disposal of 
the General. Various other sources of income helped 
to swell the King's revenues. Breaches of the peace 
were punished by the imposition of fines varying 
with the position of the offender and the gravity of 
the offence. Where again any person committed 
suicide through inability to avenge an affront, the 
offending party and often his entire village were 
mulcted in a sum of money. Certain kinds of perma- 
nent plantations also were liable to taxation, for ins- 
tance coconut lands, which usually paid a tenth of 
their produce. Fishermen were taxed at a fixed rate 
on their nets, in addition to paying a percentage 
of all fish caught by them. In various districts where 
oil was manufactured a similar payment in kind 
was exacted. Tolls were levied at the fortified out- 
posts which guarded the frontiers, on passengers 
entering and leaving Portuguese territory, and a tax 
was put upon the privilege of cremation. In addition 
to all this the villagers were responsible for the up- 
keep of the village paths, bridges and resting-places, 
while every adult male among the Moors had to 
work for three months in the year on the roads 
and fortifications. 

Under the Sinhalese rule of the Island the 
power of life and death had been jealously reserved 
to the King alone, and no man could even be sen- 
tenced to lashes except by his order. Legal process 
and citations were unknown, for the mere summons 
of the one party to the other to appear before the 
tribunal, if made in the King's name, had such 
binding force that none dared disobey. In case of 
conviction a common form of punishment was for 
the accused to be placed in Welekma, by tracing a 
circle round him on the ground and forbidding him 
in the King's name to step outside it; nor would 

188 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

he dare to do so. To supervise the collection of the 
Maralas mentioned above, there were appointed a 
number of officials termed Maraleiros, who also acted 
as circuit judges. In addition to their itinerant Courts, 
a tribunal consisting of eight Mudaliyars, established 
by de Azavedo, sat at Malwana and dealt with matters 
affecting the Sinhalese, though all important cases 
were reserved to be heard by the General himself, 
from whose decision there was no appeal. Matters 
concerning the village alone came before a Council 
of the village elders or headmen. All these tribunals 
recognised decisory oaths, which together with the 
ordeal were a popular means of settling disputes. 
Often the form of oath consisted in placing a num- 
ber of pebbles on the head of a son of the party 
swearing, who then imprecated his death within the 
number of days represented by the pebbles if he 
himself was speaking aught but the truth. The form 
of ordeal most in favour consisted of touching boil- 
ing oil or a red-hot iron with the tip of the finger, 
and this method was largely employed where the 
chastity of women was in question. ^ 

Sinhalese customary law had always recognised 
the practice of borrowing money on the security of 
the borrower's person. Such slaves were treated 
with great kindness and were allowed lands for their 
maintenance, so that they frequently acquired much 
wealth. With the Portuguese, however, the system- 
atic kidnapping of children to be sold into slavery 
was developed into a lucrative profession, and there 
was a large importation of Africans whose descend- 
ants even today, in spite of three hundred years of 
intermarriage with the Asiatic races, as well as the 
admixture of European blood, revert in not a few 
instances to the original African type. In Goa the 
torture and murder of slaves grew to be so gross 
a scandal as to call for a special Alvara from the 
King. The Portuguese also maintained a large num- 

Royal Honours 189 

ber of female slaves, from whose industry and from 
the commerce of whose bodies their masters derived 
a considerable revenue. 

From the Sinhalese point of view, to appear 
before a great person with empty hands betokened 
a lack of respect. Accordingly on the three occa- 
sions during the year upon which all the Chiefs 
presented themselves at Court, they brought with 
them various offerings regulated strictly in accord- 
ance with the office and holdings of each individual 
and consisting of jewels, weapons, and what not, 
together with any rarity which was considered likely 
to be acceptable to the King. This custom the 
Generals as representing the King consistently main- 
tained. Similarly in their progresses through the 
country they were received with royal honours, the 
roads being decorated with fruits and flowers and 
white cloth, and the people prostrating themselves 
in that reverent obeisance which Oriental etiquette 


1. A Tribunal created by Dom Joao III to decide matters of 
conscience. A similar Mesa was established at Goa in 
1570, but did not exist long. 

2. Cf. Rajput, Raja putra. Sons of the King. 

3. Ryclof van Goens, 1675-1679, 

4. A quintal = 1.97 cwt. 

5. Queen Emma, mother of Edward the Confessor, when 
accused of guilty intercourse with Alwyn, Bishop of 
Winchester, cleared herself and the Bishop by walking 
unharmed over nine red-hot ploughshares. 


De Azavedo was succeeded in Ceylon by Dom 
Francisco de Meneses Roxo. The main preoccupation 
of the new General was the acquirement of wealth, 
rather than of glory, and the military situation was 
allowed to go from bad to worse, while depots were 
established on the frontiers, by means of which de 
Meneses and his partners, the Disawas, maintained 
a brisk and extremely profitable trade with the 
enemy in cloth and opium, which they exchanged 
for areca-nut and pepper. The Moorish commerce 
had long ago been driven out of the sea-ports of 
Ceylon, and this very year orders were received from 
Goa to fcrbid the further settlement of Moors in 
the Island, orders which however did not prevent 
the General from employing a low-born Moor as his 
accomplice in his nefarious practices in the Disawani 
of Matara. Harsh fines, which went to swell the 
General's irccme, were inflicted on the people on 
the slightest pretext ; the gems and elephants which 
belonged to the Crown were dealt with by him as 
if they were his private property; the revenue was 
misappropriated, and the scandalised natives were on 
the verge of rebellion; for while the General was 
busy with his trade, his soldiers were engaged in raiding 
villages for food, robbing the inhabitants and ravishing 
the women, till whole districts were abandoned and 
the people had to arm themselves in self-defence. 

That discipline had ceased to exist in the army 
is scarcely a matter for surprise. The depopulation 
of Portugal had gone so far that it was no longer 
possible to fill the yearly navy with volunteers, and 
the very scum of Portugal was being shipped to the 
East. Boys of nine years of age and upwards were 

192 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

being kidnapped from all parts of the country in 
the hope that some of them would survive to be 
soldiers; and of the recruits obtained for the army- 
no small proportion were malefactors, since a pardon 
was offered to any criminals who should enlist. So 
perilous was the war in Ceylon admitted to be, 
that banishment to the army there was a punishment 
frequently promulgated in the Royal Alvaras. The 
voyage to India itself was a terrible undertaking. 
The unwieldy caravels, crowded with their living 
freight and kept in a condition of appalling filth, 
were by the time they reached their destination 
pestiferous sinks. The crew and passengers were 
often reduced, by the devastating effects of scurvy 
and dysentery, to one half their original number in 
the course of the voyage; and the arrival of the 
yearly fleet at Goa crowded the spacious hospital 
there with helpless invalids. 

Fortunately for the Portuguese, internal dissen- 
sions prevented Senerat from taking full advantage 
of the prevailing anarchy. He had indeed made an 
effort, which just failed of success, to surprise 
Balane, while a small fleet of Sinhalese vessels had 
appeared cff ths Western coast and captured some 
merchantmen: but the death of the Queen on the 
20th of July 1613 following that of Astana Bandara, 
the heir to the Crown, served to distract the attention 
of the Sinhalese till the arrival in Novem.ber 1614 
of the new General, Manuel Mascarenhas Homem, 
who brought with him detailed instructions, such as 
the great experience of the Viceroy had enabled 
him to give. Rigorous discipline was to be main- 
tained in the army, and the war carried out without 
intermission. Believing that the only effective policy 
was to wear out the enemy by captivity and death, 
de Azavedo recommended that the system which 
he had employed of making two incursions in their 
territory every year should be continued. No male 
above fourteen years was to be left alive, and the 

The Viceroy's Instructions 193 

native troops were to be reorganised under reliable 
leaders. Effective supervision was to be exercised 
over those who had services to render in the way 
of the preparation of arms, and every effort made 
to cut off the foreign trade which the Sinhalese 
still maintained by means of their eastern ports. 

The new General was instructed that the revenue 
from the cinnamon monopoly should be ear-marked 
for the expenses of the v/ar, and advised to make 
Malwana his headquarters. As, however, there were no 
hotels to be found there, and the ambalan or caravanserais 
which the Sinhalese Kings had maintained on the 
chief roads for the convenience of travellers had 
been destroyed or had fallen into decay, he would 
have to keep open house for all who came to see 
him. He must, moreover, attend carefully to the 
administration of justice, and continue the Tribunal 
which de Azavedo had established at Malwana, 
Above all the work of converting the heathen' was 
not to be neglected. 

In the same year King Philip issued an order 
which sheds a pitiful light on the financial condi- 
tion of Portugal at this time. A Captain on receiv- 
ing the King's Commission had been expected to 
spend all the money he could get together, if funds 
were not forthcoming, in the King's service. On the 
termination of his commission the Chief Commander 
issued to each Captain a certificate setting forth the 
service he had rendered and the expenditure he had 
incurred on the King's account. After seven years, 
when a certain number of these certificates had been 
collected, the Captain was at liberty to leave for 
Portugal and present them at the Oflice of Remem- 
brances. There, especially if he had influence or 
was prepared to bribe the proper authorities suffici- 
ently, he would be rewarded by receiving an appoint- 
ment as Captain in charge of a port, Judge, or Pac- 


104 Ceylon and the Pcrtuguese 

tor as the case might be, for a certain number of 
years. On arriving at the station assigned to him, 
his sole object would be to make all the profit pos- 
sible within the limited time at his disposal ; and 
this was both the explanation of and the excuse 
for the amazing dishonesty which disgraced the Portu- 
guese administrative officials/ Not infrequently these 
grants were made to females as a reward for the 
services of their male relatives, and in such cases 
the appointments were given to their husbands. 
Succession to such posts had been disposed of for 
several years to come by patents which were to take 
effect after the expiry of previous grants. Now, how- 
ever, instructions were issued to put up to auction 
the Captaincies of the fortresses, the profits of the 
trade voyages, and the various offices of the State 
of India, for a period of three years, as a means 
of replenishing the Indian coffers, the purchasers 
being given precedence over all other grantees. No 
more significant indication could be found of the 
condition of helplessness into which the Home Gov- 
ernment had fallen. 

De Azavedo's instructions with regard to the 
conduct of the war were carried out to the letter. 
Twice in every year a ferocious band of freebooters 
penetrated to within the mountain zone, carrying 
with them death and destruction. No able-bodied 
man whom they found was left alive; and such of 
the women and children as could [not conveniently 
be removed as prisoners shared as a rule the same 
fate. The cattle were all driven down from the 
m.ountains to feed the hungry Portuguese in Colombo; 
no house was passed by unburnt, and no fniit tree 
was left undestroyed. 

The Sinhalese could regard the loss of their flimsy 
houses with something approaching indifference ; but the 
felling of their trees was to them a terrible blow. A jak 
tree would last for several centuries and would keep the 

The Coconut 195 

family of a villager supplied with food for several months 
in each year. The coconut palm again was almost a 
friend. It would not, so the villager believed, flourish 
except within sound of the human voice. From its 
branches he got the cadjans with which he thatched 
the roof which sheltered him from the rain ; its 
trunk supplied the rafters and the pillars which held 
up that roof; its fruit was essential to every meal, 
and the oil which it yielded was the offering that 
he took with him to the temple. The treacle which 
he obtained from it was an ingredient of the only 
dainties his children knew, and the ivory-coloured 
tender leaves decked his house when his daughter 
was given in marriage, while a few of the trees 
themselves were the best dower that she could take 
her husband. It flowered twelve times in the year 
and yielded fruit for a hundred years. It is not 
therefore astonishing that the wanton felling of the 
tree was a criminal offence punishable at law.* 

The Sinhalese, however, were rapidly learning 
their lesson. At the news of the approach of the 
Portuguese every soul would vanish into the thick 
forests, and as the Portuguese straggled in single 
file along the roads which as the consequence of 
neglect had degenerated into mere forest tracks, a 
silent arrow or the ball from a matchlock fired by 
an unseen hand would lay one and another lifeless. 
Defensive armour had long ago been discarded, for 
it had been found to be more of an encumbrance 
than a help in the case of foot-soldiers fighting in 
the tropics ; and their collars of buffalo-hide and 
round bucklers afforded little protection against the 
bolts of the Sinhalese. Moreover the clothes which 
they wore were little better than rags, and very few 
of them were provided with shoes. 

To make matters worse, a wrong system had 
come into vogue with regard to the appointment ot 
officers. Not only were Portuguese officials taking 

196 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the place of Sinhalese even in the high office of 
Disawa, but inexperienced men who had no know- 
ledge of the country or of the ways of the enemy 
and their methods of warfare were being placed in 
command of armies in preference to experienced 
veterans such as were still to be found in Ceylon. 
Such a system not unnaturally bred dissatisfaction 
among the men, whilst it frequently involved the 
raiding expeditions in disaster. 

The arm.y would toil through the torest and 
over the mountains till disease, the result of continued 
exposure, broke out among the men who were 
already exhausted by the long marches and by lack 
of food. All this while a close watch would be kept 
upon them by the Sinhalese from the mountain tops. 
Each narrow passage through which they had been 
allov/ed to penetrate unmolested would be jealously 
guarded, and on all sides light=armed troops would 
lie hidden among the dense vegetation. The majes- 
tic trees which tow^ered overhead, as if defying time 
and the strength of man, would all be skilfully cut 
round, being sustained in their position merely by 
the giant creepers v/hich hung like cables from their 
tops; and cunningly devised stone shutes would lie 
snugly concealed on every crag. When at length 
the critical moment came and the weary Portuguese 
turned homeward, with a few strokes of the hatchet 
the great trees would crash down and block the road, 
the fearful shutes would come thundering from above, 
while unseen in the tangled jungle the Sinhalese 
would pour into the midst of the retreating army 
their arrows and leaden bullets, carefully picking out 
the officers among the Portuguese. As a rule the 
invading army came back with greatly reduced 
numbers, and this death-roll was extended to piti- 
able dimensions by the ravages of diseases contracted 
in the course of the campaign. 

An Earthquake 197 

In the midst of these alarms of war there 
occurred portents of Nature which gave rise in the 
minds of the Portuguese to gloomy forebodings. A 
fiery comet with three tails, first seen on the 7th 
of March 1615, filled the whole country with terror 
and dismay ; and this was followed by an outbreak 
of disease which affected both man and beast. Fish, 
it is related, died in such numbers as to pollute 
the atmosphere and add to the prevailing infection. 
To crown all, at seven o'clock on the evening of 
the 14th of April a severe earthquake shook the 
land, heralded by what are described as peals of 
thunder. The terrified inhabitants nished into the 
streets to escape from the swaying houses which 
were tumbling down on all sides. Great fissures 
emitting sulphurous fumes opened on the surface of 
the ground. A portion of the city wall with one of 
the bavStions collapsed, and a stone bridge was entirely 
destroyed, while, to add to the horrors of that terri- 
ble night, fire broke out. Two hundred houses fell 
to the ground, and the dead alone were estimated 
at over two thousand. 

In May of the same year Senerat despatched 
Boschouwer to obtain for him the long-promised 
assistance against the Portuguese. The following 
March Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira succeeded to the 
office of General, his succession thereto being marked 
by no departure from de Azavedo's plan of campaign. 
Shortly afterwards Antao Vaz Ferreira— probably 
one of the very few honest Portuguese in the East 
—whose health had given way under his arduous 
labours, left the Island. He had completed his 
Tombo, which is still preserved in Portugal, but 
he had not succeeded in dealing with all the 
opposition which his administrative acts had called 
into being. The Camara or Municipal Chamber of 
Colombo was still insisting on its claim, based on a 
Sannas of Dharmapala, to a quantity of cinnamon 

li§ Ceylon and the Portuguese 

every year. It obstinately refused to produce itvS 
title deeds to the lands and coconut plantations 
which it claimed as its property ; and it maintained 
a tenacious fight for its rights over the great ferries 
by which Colombo was approached from the North, 
and also to an unrestricted trade in areca-nuts. On 
the other hand, it had the independence to resent 
all attempts on the part of the General and the 
Captain of Colombo to interfere with its legitimate 
functions, and still more with its money chest. 
Needless to say these latter officials did not like the 
Camara, nor appreciate the persistency with which 
it urged the importance of keeping the fortifications 
of Colombo in repair. 

At this point another strange figure appears 
in the bloodstained arena. Nikapitiya Bandara had 
died at Coimbra in 1608, but in spite of this a 
mysterious rumour travelling along the pilgrim routes, 
which were still kept open by the footsteps of 
white-clad devotees, had spread from mouth to mouth 
among the Sinhalese to the effect that he was still 
in the Island, and would soon bring salvation to 
his people. To heighten the effect of this dramatic 
interlude, its mise-en-scene was the ancient city of 
Anuradha Pura, which to the Portuguese was but a 
shadowy name.* They had indeed heard that buried 
within the depths of the interminable forest there 
lay the remains of a City of Kings, but very few 
of them had ventured near the mysterious spot. 
Herds of wild elephants alone trod the broad proces- 
sional paths of the Abhayagiri and Ruwan-weli-seya, 
which for so many centuries had been thronged 
with all the peaceful pomp of Sinhalese civilisation. 
The graceful monoliths which guarded the Tuparama 
in eternal silence could hardly be distinguished 
amidst the trunks of the forest trees which crowded 
in upon them. The roofless colonnades of the Lowa 
Mahii Paya still pointed to where Gamani's ivory 

Anuradha Pura 1§$ 

throne had been placed, but the scent of flowers 
seldom rose from the great stone altars to the great 
stone Buddhas who looked so wistfully over them 
into eternity. Yet, though the dams of the mighty 
tanks had given way, the handful of fever-stricken 
villagers who still maintained the struggle for 
existence below them did not cease regularly to 
sweep the circuit of the aged Bo tree, which 
incessantly quivered and sighed as if in sorrow for 
the misery which had overtaken that country, into 
the heart of which it had struck its roots. Still, too, 
year by year at the great festivals, worshippers 
gathered round the Tree from the remotest parts of 
the Island, there to hold communion with the past 
and to draw fresh inspiration for the future. 

In this romantic setting a wild figure clad in 
skins and with the matted hair of the ascetic 
appeared and claimed the allegiance of the Sinhalese 
as their rightful Pving, Nikapitiya Bandara. The 
moment was well chosen. Horror-struck by the 
inhuman barbarities of the Portuguese, the country 
was passionately demanding a leader ; the atmosphere 
was tense with excitement ; and as it happened 
Colombo itself was denuded of its usual ganison. 
On the 5th of December 1616 the self-styled Nikapitiya 
Bandara entered Metiyagane, the ancient royal 
city of Dambadeniya, as King. In eight days the 
whole of the district was in arms, and two thousand 
Sinhalese troops had arrived from the Uda Rata to 
assist the pretender. A Portuguese force hurried up 
to crush the revolt ere it should gain head, and on the 
18th the armies met at Gandolaha, close to the Maha Oya. 

The Sinhalese, exasperated by the long 
tale of cruelty, bore themselves with reckless 
courage, and for a long time the issue hung in the 
balance. At last the Lascarins began to waver and 
even to desert to the Sinhalese. The day seemed 
lost when Dom Constantino Navaratna, who was now 

200 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

married to a Portuguese lady in Colombo, and 
who had risen into great prominence during the war, 
hastened to the rescue. Throwing himself in front 
of the waverers he shouted to them that if they 
desired their own King he was there, for he was 
royal by seven branches, as they all knew. The day 
was saved for the Portuguese. The Lascarins hesit- 
ated a moment; then, raising Dom Constantino in 
their arms, they saluted him as their King. 

The fight still raged furiously, but at last the 
Sinhalese retired to behind the Maha Oya, leaving 
the Portuguese too exhausted to move. Meanwhile 
Philip de Oliveira, an officer who was destined to 
achieve in Jaffna what the Viceroy de Braganza 
had failed to effect, hurried up with a small army 
on receipt of the news of the battle, which was 
only too horribly confirmed by the sight of over a 
thousand corpses lying unburied on the field of the 
recent struggle. To add to their sense of insecur- 
ity the Portuguese discovered a palm-leaf scroll 
which was made fast to a tree, and contained a 
Sinhalese proclamation to the effect that all the 
Portuguese in Ceylon had been put to death and 
that Colombo itself had fallen. They accordingly 
drew back to Attanagalla for safety. In the meantime 
Nikapitiya with a great following was making a 
royal progress through the country; extravagant 
grants of land served to cement the bonds which 
hatred of the cruel foreigner had already fashioned, 
and at Nakalagama, almost within sight of the 
Portuguese capital, the pretender caused himself to 
be proclaimed Emperor. 

For the Portuguese the moment was critical, 
and they awaited with bated breath the issue of 
events. Elated with his success, however, Nikapitiya 
took the im.politic step of sending an impertinent 
message to the King, demanding one of the latter's 
two Queens for his own wife. He received the 

Nikapiiiya withdraws 201 

contemptuous reply that the request could be attended 
to as soon as he had finished with the Portuguese, 
while at the same time the two thousand Sinhalese who 
had been sent to his support were recalled, to the 
great delight of the Portuguese, whose army was 
again advancing to meet him. They found the 
country prepared as for a triumphal procession. The 
roads were swept and decorated with greenery and 
flowers in the manner which is still common on 
every occasion of rejoicing, and tender coconuts, 
flashing like red gold in the blazing sun, hung from 
the branches of the trees on the road-side to 
refresh the weary traveller; for all were expecting 
their deliverer to pass that way. The armies met 
at Kal Eliya, and after a short hand-to-hand fight 
Nikapitiya disappeared into the forest, and crossing 
the Maha Oya was soon once more in safety at 

In the meantime Baretto, who had risen to 
be Disawa of Uwa, made a dash into the Rayigam 
Korale, and drove the Disawa of Matara into Galle 
for shelter. Nevertheless Senerat, who was still 
incensed with Nikapitiya, determined now to make 
peace ; but the garrison at Balane, not content with 
treacherously putting his messenger to death, retorted 
to his dignified protest against this amazing breach 
of honour, with a defiant gibe. The punishment how- 
ever was swift and severe. A large army appeared 
before the fort, and the Sinhalese, sheltering them- 
selves behind wooden mantles, advanced steadily up 
to the walls. The blocks of stone which formed 
the ramparts, and which were not secured with 
mortar, were rapidly dislodged by means of deer 
horns fastened to long poles, and the garrison, des- 
pairing of resistance, surrendered on condition of their 
lives being spared— a condition which, in spite of 
their previous shameful action, was scrupulously 


202 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

So" desperate had the condition of affairs in 
Ceylon become, that the Council at Goa decided that 
the Viceroy should proceed thither in person to 
restore order. India, however, had neither men nor 
money to spare, and other matters of equal weight 
made calls upon the Viceroy's attention, so that the 
resolution of the Council was never put into execu- 
tion. But the desolating struggle continued till the 
occurrence of the festival of the New Year, for which 
the Lascarins were allowed to return to their homes, 
afforded a short breathing-space. 

The 365 days occupied by the Sun's apparent 
circuit in the heavens were divided by the Sinha- 
lese into twelve months, named after the signs of 
the Zodiac. The year began with the entry of the 
Sun into Aries, which takes place usually about the 
13th of April, and the occasion was observed as the 
great social festival of the race. For several months 
beforehand preparations would be made in every 
household; the poorest would lay aside any small 
coin he could spare, to purchase new clothes for the 
members of his family ; the idlest would go out and 
work, to secure the means with which to entertain 
his relatives and friends. For the celebration of this 
occasion the whole family would be assembled at the 
Mul gedera, the family homestead. The criminal hiding 
from justice would creep in stealthily by night, and 
the soldier on service would be present on leave 
for during this festival there was no Rajakariya. 

The exact moment when the New Year began was 
calculated by the King's astronomers, whose apparatus 
for measuring time consisted of a light copper bowl 
with an almost imperceptible perforation at the 
bottom. This bowl was set floating in a tub of water, 
till it filled and settled down at the bottom. The 
time occupied from the moment it was placed in the 
water till it reached the bottom amounted to 
a peya, sixty of which made a day and a night. 

The New Year 203 

At the auspicious moment the King would mount 
his throne in the presence of the assembled 
courtiers, while a salute of artillery announced the 
event to the public. This done, there followed the 
ceremony of the Anointing. The King's Physicians 
would have prepared the necessary unguent from 
the juices of various medicinal herbs, and at the 
hour appointed for the purpose he would take his 
seat facing south-east. Above his head would be 
suspended leaves plucked from trees which varied 
according to the position of the planets, and here 
he would be solemnly anointed, while a company of 
maidens holding lighted tapers in their hands invoked 
blessings on his head. At the same time in every 
household a similar rite was performed, the head of 
the family anointing and blessing every member thereof. 

A third hour was fixed for the first eating of 
the food cooked in the New Year, and yet another 
for beginning the Year's work, when every labouring 
man would handle the tool by which he earned his 
living. This last ceremony was the occasion for the 
greatest rejoicing. All through the country there 
would be entertaining of friends and exchanging of 
presents, followed by ceremonial bathing. The festival 
which lasted several days, was brought to an end 
by the great Chiefs appearing before the King, car- 
rying on their heads covered with white cloth the 
presents which were to be offered to him, while the 
King in his turn made offerings to the Danta Datu. 

Immediately on its conclusion Nikapitiya marched 
into the Disawani of Sabaragamuwa, but finding the 
Portuguese there in strength he hastily retired north- 
wards, and after a severe fight in the neighbourhood 
of Anuradha Pura, escaped into the wilds. Baretto 
in the meantime had revolted against Senerat and 
obtained control of the entire eastern part of the 
Island, while his armies over-ran Matara and Sabara- 
gamuwa. The rapidity of his movements bewildered 
the Portuguese, who did not know which of their 

204 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

outposts would next be selected for attack. Their 
army moreover was completely demoralised, being in 
fact little more than a company of brigands, whose 
lawless excesses made them as much an object of 
terror and hatred to their own countrymen as to the 
Sinhalese. The coffers were empty, for, in conse- 
quence of the misconduct of the Generals, the revenue 
which the cinnamon monopoly was expected to pro. 
vide for the maintenance of the war was not forth- 
coming. As King Philip bitterly complained, the 
Generals had issued so many licenses for the benefit 
of themselves and their satellites, that about three 
times as much was collected on their account as was 
collected for the King. The royal rights under the 
monopoly were in fact enforced only as against the 
poor ; by the more powerful they were flouted with 

It is therefore no matter for surprise that the 
Portuguese were well satisfied to conclude on the 
24th of August 1617 a treaty with Senerat. Under 
the terms of this treaty the Portuguese acknowledged 
the sovereignty of Senerat, who for his part agreed 
to pay an annual tribute of two elephants, to sup= 
press any rising within his dominions, to restore the 
Portuguese captured at Balane and all other Christian 
prisoners, and to send persons of position as hostages. 
Baretto, however, continued in occupation of the 
Disawanis of Sabaragamuwa and Matara. The former 
was entirely abandoned by the Portuguese, and the 
garrisons which were there withdrawn, while in the 
latter they met with a severe reverse at the hands 
of the energetic rebel. At about this same time 
Nikapitiya again made his appearance in the Seven 
Korales, accompanied by the Prince Mayadunna, a 
member of the Sitawaka royal family ; but finding 
that the inhabitants were weary of war and would 
not support him, he once more disappeared into the 

Constantino d$ Sa 205 

On the 17th of November 1617 the Conde de 
Redondo landed at Goa as Viceroy in succession to 
de Azavedo, whom a dungeon below the castle of 
Lisbon, where he dragged out the remaining eight 
years of his miserable life, awaited. 

In the following September Constantino de 
Sa y Noronha arrived at Colombo as General. Of his 
coming the courtier like Alagiyawanna sang : 

"As when the fat fields are parched with drought and th« 

loud-roaring rain-cloud bursts. 
Or as when to the dying man some gifted healer come* 
with rare drugs from the gods themselves, 

Thus he arrived among the people who were scattered through 
fear of the foe, bringing joy to the hearts of men". 

Indeed he had not come a day too soon, for 

the condition of disorder which prevailed was 

appalling. The peace had relieved the Portuguese 

of all fear from the side of Senerat, and the soldiers 

had taken the opportunity to abandon the field for 

the city, and had brought with them the unrestrained 

licence of the camp. The honour of no woman 

was safe, and the Casados were compelled to take 

up arms against their own countrymen in defence 

of their families. Predatory bands met in the streets 

in open fight, while the more timid exchanged 

their swords for the yard-measure and harassed the 

inhabitants with their threatening importunities. The 

severe discipline of de Sa rapidly reduced to order 

the six hundred unprincipled vagabonds who formed 

the army, and bands of reliable veterans were 

enrolled for the purpose of giving the less experienced 

that confidence and example of which they were 

so badly in need. De Oliveira was placed in chief 

command, while instructions were issued to the 

Disawas to organise the native levies on a war footing. 

The energy of the new General electrified 

the foul and lethargic atmosphere. All the outlying 

posts were visited in turn and strengthened as best 

206 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

they might be under the circumstances; and an 
army of spies was distributed throughout the 
country to discover and report the plans of the 
Sinhalese. A special mission with rich presents 
secured the neutrality of Senerat, whilst an expedition 
commanded by the General himself defeated Baretto, 
who had retired with Mayadunna to the mountains 
of the Adam's Peak range, with such heavy loss 
that his power was broken, and de Sa was 
enabled to return to Malwana to attend to other 
pressing administrative problems. De Oliveira was 
sent with an army to reduce Jaffna, where the 
Prince Chankili had seized the Government ; the 
latter fled from the country in a panic, while the 
struggle for independence was continued by a 
certain MigapuUe Arachchi, who was supported by 
troops from Tanjor, but his efforts were of little 

Learning of the resistance which was being 
offered, de Sa sent Luiz Teixeira to assist de 
Oliveira. Diabolical atrocities marked his route. By 
his orders men were hacked in two with axes, the 
breasts of women were torn off, and the wombs of 
mothers were slit open and the infants they carried 
in their arms forced within. A short but sharp 
struggle restored to the North a semblance of 
tranquillity, while at about the same time a further 
attempt on the part of Mayadunna in the South 
resulted in his being defeated and forced to retreat 

In the meantime the mission of the impetuous 
Boschouwer to Holland had proved a failure, and 
he had turned for help to Denmark. Five vessels 
commanded by Ove Giedde were placed by King 
Christian at his disposal, and in May 1620 these 
appeared off the Eastern coast. The envoy himself 
had died on the voyage leaving a young widow. 
Mayadunna's agents at once approached Giedde with 

D€ath of BareUo 207 

an offer to purchase his assistance, and to this 
proposal Senerat after some hesitation gave his 
consent. It was however too late. The Portuguese 
were now close at hand, and on the 2nd of July 
Mayadunna was forced to take refuge on board the 
fleet, whilst Baretto was overtaken and slain after 
a gallant struggle. The Danes thereupon sailed away, 
abandoning Boschouwer's destitute widow, whilst 
Mayadunna succeded in making his way across to 

The success of de Sa moved the Camara of Colombo 
to such enthusiasm that the figure of an angel which 
adorned its Assembly Hall was ordered to be removed to 
make room for one of the General. Upon imforma- 
tion of this resolution reaching King Philip, however, 
he expressed his disapproval of the course adopted, 
and by his command the discarded Angel was once 
again restored to its niche. 


1. In this matter de Azavedo acted up to the instruction! 
contained in the King of Portugal's letter. For instance, 
when five Patangatins, or headmen from Chilaw, were 
baptised at Malwana on the Feast of Our Lady of 
Victories, 1606, de Aaavedo "was pleased to grant them 
many favours and privileges, in order to cause the envy 
of the other gentiles, who might thus be led to follow their 
example,'- Ctylon Antiquaty, II, 21. 

2. Cf. in this respect the Roman provincial Governor under 

the later Republic, e. g. Verres. 

3. There was a similar feeling in Attica about the felling 

of olive trees, which were left untouched during the fiercest 
tribal wars. 

4. It is a pleasure to note that the Jesuits had, as early as 

1606, commissioned one of their number to make a 
study of the history and antiquities of the Island. 
CrfloH Antiquary, II. 


In 1620 the Viceroy removed de Sa from office 
to make room for his own son Jorge de Alboquer- 
que. The new General's administration was chiefly 
notable for a mutiny in the army, the soldiers 
deposing their officers and setting up a Board of 
Twelve to manage their affairs till the General should 
appoint a new Captain-Major. De Alboquerque 
himself was, however, so unpopular that a plot was 
set on foot to put him to death, though, owing to 
the interference of the Jesuits no evil results ensued. 
About the same time also a conspiracy was detected 
among the supporters of Mayadunna who was now in 
India, and for their complicity in this some of the most 
prominent Sinhalese had to pay the penalty with 
their lives. Everyone therefore was pleased when 
in 1623 de Sa once again resumed office. He brought 
with him instructions to reduce the Sinhalese 
Kingdom once for all, and to erect a fort at Trin- 
comalee to control the fine anchorage which Senerat 
had promised to the Hollanders. The resources at 
his disposal were indeed of the scantiest, but in 
spite of the dissuasions of his Councillors he set out 
the following year to carry the second project into effect. 

The site selected was the spot where de 
Azavedo had, in the course of his last expedition 
in 1612, made an unsuccessful attempt to erect a 
fort. This was the lofty headland of Konesar Malai, 
which, rising with its three great stone temples to 
a height of four hundred feet above the sea, was 
one of the most holy places of Hindu worship. The 
temples were ruthlessly destroyed to make way for a 
triangular fort of stone and mortar, which wat 
equipped with guns obtained from a Danish vessel 


210 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

that had gone aground in the neighbourhood. The 
fort being completed a small garrison was left in 
charge, and de Sa returned to Colombo. 

The act was an audacious infringement of the 
peace which Senerat had so long and so honourably 
maintained, and he prepared to offer resistance, but 
was soothed by the specious explanation that the fort 
was intended only as a protection against the Euro- 
pean enemies who were beginning to appear in the 
Indian waters. De Sa now set about preparing for 
his further task. All manner of blandishments were 
employed to win the natives over to his side, and 
they were freely promoted to positions of trust and 
responsibility. At the same time the finances were 
organised on a sounder footing, the fortifications of 
Colombo and Galle were strengthened, and at the 
first-named place a powder-mill was erected to supply 
the local demand. De Sa saw to it that the soldiers were 
regularly paid, suppressed with vigour the illicit trade 
maintained by the officers, and, in spite of the 
opposition of the Vedor, Ambrosio de Freitas, 
succeeded in establishing a small local mint. He also 
warmly encouraged intermarriage between the races, 
but the system had already proved a failure ; for 
Christianity would tolerate no other religion by its 
side, and the Sinhalese who married a Portuguese 
wife found himself cut adrift from his own people, 
while the position of the wife was far from being 
a happy one. 

In the midst of these preoccupations de Sa 
found time to turn his attention to the question of 
the Moors, who, in spite of all the orders of King 
Philip to the contrary, still continued to make their 
way into the country in increasing numbers Not 
only were they to be found along the Coast, but 
there were whole villages of them settled in the 
inland districts, where, as the only channel of trade, 
they performed a very important function. Th« 

The Moors 211 

Semitic blood which ran through their veins was no 
doubt very Hmited in quantity, but it retained in a 
high degree its distinctive characteristics. The instinct 
for trade which had made the Arab a great sailor 
was also the dominating passion with the Moor of 
Ceylon. Tenacity of purpose marked all hi5 
actions in life ; and though the Sinhalese were glad 
to see him appear, the cringing obsequious hawker 
with a pack on his back, in their remoter villages, 
they soon learnt to resent his attempts to settle in 
their midst. Once established in the village the hawker 
soon grew to be the money-lender, and he in time 
became the land-owner who, adding field to field, 
gradually absorbed the holdings of the villagers. The 
just of gold which overwhelmed the Portuguese 
officers gave the Moorman his opportunity, for they 
found in him just the instrument that they needed. 
The Moor was an excellent man of business and 
was never at a loss to discover where his interests 
lay ; when a Moorman collected six hundred amunam' 
of areca in one season for the benefit of the General, 
how was it to be expected that the latter should 
bring himself to enforce the orders for the expulsion 
of so useful a class ? No doubt the Holy Office at 
Goa was scandalised by their employment under the 
State, but even that powerful Tribunal was unable 
to overcome the passive resistance of the Ceylon 

The honesty of de Sa was bitterly attacked by 
the Vedor, with whom he was never able to work 
in harmony; his connection with a monopoly of salt 
appears to demand explanation ; and it is beyond 
dispute that he sent an ivory bed worth 4000 pardaos 
home to Lisbon. The documents bearing on the period 
of his administration are however not yet available 
to the student, and it is therefore right to suspend 
judgment. Meanwhile one fact stands to his credit, 
that he was able to shake himself free of the attractive 
trammels of the Moors. By his orders they were in 

212 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

1625 driven away in large numbers. The bulk of 
them found an asylum within Sinhalese territory, 
and a large colony of them, was settled in the dis- 
trict about Batticaloa. 

De Sa now set about strengthening Menikkada- 
wara, for it was his intention to use this place as 
a point d'appui for the operations which he had in 
view against the Sinhalese; and followed this up by 
making a dash to the Eastern coast, where he erected 
a small fort on the Island of Puliyan Tivu not far 
from Batticaloa. The site indeed was badly chosen 
and the Portuguese never received from it any benefit 
which adequately compensated for the expense 
and anxiety of maintaining it; but they were in a 
state of great trepidation, for the Sinhalese were 
whispering to each other a saying in their ancient 
writings that a nation with eyes like those of a cat 
in colour would soon make its way to the Island. 
Senerat himself was naturally indignant at this new 
breach of faith on the part of the Portuguese, but 
hesitated to draw the sword and attempted instead 
to buy them off. His attempts were however in vain. 
In 1627 war was declared and a small Portuguese 
army penetrated into Uwa and burnt the town of 
Badulla ; but though the King and his three sons 
looked on, they refused to be drawn into an engage- 

iVt this point there first appears on the stage 
of events the great Commander who was destined for 
the last time to fan the smouldering energy of the 
Sinhalese into a blaze. The Court was in hiding at 
Mahiyangana when the Maha Biso Bandara, as the 
Queen was called, gave birth to Maha Asthana, the 
future Raja Sinha ; but auspicious omens had attended 
his birth. And indeed to the Sinhalese mind no 
place of better augury could have been selected for 
this important event than that historic spot so closely 
interwoven with the remotest legends of their religion 

Raja Sinha 213 

and race— a spot rendered sacred by the visit of the 
Buddha himself, and which had witnessed the gathering 
together of the avenging armies of Wijaya Bahu. On 
that very night, it was said, the Portuguese Comman- 
der had dreamed that he saw a tiny spark, no bigger 
than a firefly, floating from the west and growing in size 
as it travelled through the sky, till it waxed 
exceeding great over the port of Colombo and set 
everything there on fire ; and the appearance of the 
infant Prince had been signalised by the success of 
the King's arms at Balane. It is customary for the 
horoscope of every Sinhalese child to be cast ; 
Diyakelinawala, the great astrologer, was entrusted 
with the preparation of the Prince's, and sedulous 
care was lavished on his education to fit him for 
the high destiny which, it was prophesied, awaited 
him in life. 

In 1628, when the Prince was sixteen years 
of age, Senerat summoned his three sons, and 
divided his kingdom among them by lot. He had 
seen clearly that of the three the youngest was 
also the strongest, and to his great delight it was 
to the youngest that the Uda Rata proper fell ; 
Maha Asthana thus became Aga Raja or Chief King 
with the title of Raja Sinha ; his brothers Kumara 
Sinha and Wijaya Pal a received respectively the 
districts of Uwa and Matale. 

In March 1629 de Sa again took the field. 
The result was unsatisfactory, for heavy rains had 
drenched the country, and the cold on the mountain 
ranges was severely felt by the ill-clad Portuguese, 
several of whom died of exposure. The leeches also 
proved a terrible plague to men marching through 
the sodden forests and across the swollen streamlets. 
Ambushes lay in wait for de Sa and his army in 
the most unexpected places, and it was necessary 
to advance with the utmost circumspection. Each 
village that they passed through was ravaged and 

214 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

every living thing therein slaughtered, but still the 
Sinhalese army refused to shew itself. Senkadagala, 
which was found deserted, was burnt, and then the 
weary Portuguese turned homewards; but the Sin- 
halese now began to press on them and continued 
to harass them all along their line of march, defeating 
them in a severe engagement at Ambatenna, 
whence the Portuguese, who had sustained heavy 
loss, were glad to make a precipitate retreat. 

The exposure of the men to the inclemency 
of the weather was followed by its natural results. 
The General himself was soon prostrate with fever, 
and so critical was his condition considered that 
the Viaticum was administered to him. To the 
great relief, however, of the Portuguese his sickness 
took a turn for the better and he gradually regained 
his health. 

In the meantime four of the chief Mudaliyars* 
in Colombo, men who had been treated with the 
greatest favour by de Sa who had promoted them 
to high office and to positions of emolument and 
trust, had entered into a conspiracy with Senerat. 
Before long a raiding expedition commanded by 
KumaraSinha had crossed the frontiers of Uwa, 
and for a whole month the Portuguese looked help- 
lessly on while their territory was ravaged; for 
with the limited resources at their command they 
dared not take the field. The position was dishear- 
tening and shameful, and to make matters worse 
there came two despatches from the new Viceroy, 
the Conde de Linhares, severely censuring de Sa for 
his supposed inaction. The Viceroy expressed strong 
disapproval of the policy of temporising which de Sa 
had been compelled to adopt, and the latter, the 
second Portuguese officer in the East, was sharply 
reminded that he had been sent to Ceylon to 
supervise the war and not to superintend the trade. 
Dt Sa took the matter deeply to heart, and in spite 

Invasion of Uwa 21S 

of the remonstrances of his most experienced 
officers, determined to invade forthwith the Sinhalese 

Seven hundred Portuguese and 13,000 Lascarins 
were soon in the field. Toiling up the steep mountain 
ranges they moved slowly but unopposed till they 
reached Badulla, where two days were spent in sacking 
and burning the-; town. On the third morning the 
Sinhalese banners were seen flashing among the 
neighbouring hills. Skirmishing began at once, but 
the Sinhalese would not come to close quarters, and 
the Portuguese, seeing that they were gradually 
being encircled, prepared for the conflict which could 
no longer be avoided. Having set fire to their 
surplus stores and made confession, they began 
early in the morning to retire. The Lascarins of 
the disaffected Mudaliyars led the van, the remainder 
of the native troops forming a ring around the 
Portuguese. The army had not advanced far on the 
road before it found itself confronted by the 
Atapattu Guard, the pick of the King's forces. The 
Portuguese were already straggling, and Dom Cosme, 
a member of the conspiracy, seized the opportunity 
to run his sword through one of them, whereupon 
placing the head on a pike covered with white 
cloth, he immediately deserted accompained by his 
banner to the Sinhalese, and was followed by the 
bulk of the Lascarins. 

And now the real struggle began. The Atapattu 
Guard charged from the front, while the rest of 
the Sinhalese, protected by the forest, poured into 
the ranks of the Portuguese their clouds of arrows 
and hail of musket-balls. For three days, losing 
heavily and without rest, the latter broke their 
way through the roughly constructed works of the 
Sinhalese. By the third day the pressure on the 
rear had become so severe that it was no more 
than a disorganised rabble, terror-stricken and cut 

216 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

off from the main body. Luiz Teixeira, the Disawa 
of the Seven Korales, and the Sergeant Major, with 
all of their officers and men who had not been 
shot down, were captured as they attempted to 
conceal themselves in the forest, for the King's 
orders were that the Portuguese were to be taken 
alive. At length on reaching the level tract of 
Randeni Wela the Portuguese found themselves 
completely surrounded. Some, however, of the 
Lascarins succeeded in breaking away and fleeing 
to Colombo, and de Sa was able to despatch a messenger 
to inform the city of his desperate plight. 

There on the plain of Wellawaya the Portu- 
guese spent that awful night. The Lascarins rapidly 
melted away, till not more than five hundred were 
left to share the fate of their white companions in 
arms, and it was im.possible to erect any protection 
against the arrows and bullets that came whizzing past 
throughout the hours of darkness. The General himself 
exchanged his usual, dress for a doublet and trousers, 
arming himself with a sword and a small shield, as there 
was heavy work to be done the next day. For none 
was there any sleep that night. The very elements 
indeed seem to have conspired to punish the Portu- 
guese for the horrors to which they had subjected 
that unhappy country. A terrific downpour of rain 
lasting several hours drenched the army and rendered 
the firearms of the Portuguese useless. Their 
swords too were of littte avail against opponents so 
agile as the Sinhalese; though the attempt to capture 
them alive resulted in a terrible w^aste of life. 
Gradually however the circle narrowed round the 
doomed men. By two o'clock in the afternoon two 
hundred of the Portuguese were stretched in death. 
The fight was thickest round the General, whom 
two servants kept supplied wifh loaded arquebusses. 
It was said indeed that he killed sixty men of those 

Death of de Sa 217 

that hemmed him in with his own hand. At last 
orders were received to shoot him down. His servants 
were soon dead by his side, and as he drew his 
sword and rushed on the Sinhalese two arrows pierced 
him and he sank on his knees to the ground. 
Another arrow ended his Hfe, and though round his 
corpse the struggle redoubled itself in fury, it was 
not for long, and with wild shouts of triumph the 
head of the brave da Sa was at last severed from 
his body. 

A pyramid of Portuguese heads was raised on 
the field of battle, that of the General being laid at 
the feet cf the aged and triumphant but com- 
passionate King, who apostrophised it with 
these bitter words: "How often have I prayed you 
not to make war on me and destroy my realm, but 
to let me live in psacB, while you kept the best 
part of Lanka : but if your successors follow in your 
footsteps, you v/iii not be the last.'" 

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the gravity 
of the disaster which had overtaken the Portuguese, 
and once again if the Sinhalese had but had the 
means of blockading Colombo by sea, the complete 
destruction of their power in Ceylon would have 
been assured. Twenty-six days after its great victory 
the Sinhalese army, which had captured en route 
the fort of Siparagamiiwa with the whole of its 
garrison, appeared bafore Colombo and laid it under 
close siege. Two fierce assaults were delivered and 
were repulsed with desperate courage ; but such was 
the scarcity of provisions within the town, that 
cannibalism was freely practised, and hundreds of 
starving wretches had to be driven outside the walls. 
These refugees were kindly treated by Maha Asthana, 
though a number of them with base ingratitude 
attempted to set fire to his camp. 

The chance arrival of some soldiers from Malacca, 
however, strengthened the garrison and enabled it to 


218 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

hold cut till, after the er.d cf three rrxnths, sickness 
compelled Maha Asthana to retire with a portion of his 
forces. On his way back to Senkadagala he captured Menik- 
kadawara, and took with him thence two hundred 
Fcrtuguese prisoners. Shortly afterwards the remainder 
of the Sinhalese army withdrew to Kaduwela. Assis- 
tance now came to the Portuguese from various parts 
of India, and they were enabled to show themselves 
cutside the walls, but could do little else. A conspiracy 
was also discovered at Colombo itself, and the ring- 
leader, a distinguished Sinhalese soldier, was punished 
by being blown frcm the mouth of a cannon. The 
situation was so helpless that the authorities at Goa 
found it difficult to persuade any prominent official 
to accept the vacant post of General, and it was not 
till the 21st of October 1631 that the aged Dom Jorge 
de Almeida landed as the successor of de Sa. 

On his arrival negotiations weie opened with 
Senerat to secure the release of the Portuguese 
prisoners, but the King was not prepared to sell 
cheaply the advantage^ which he had gained. He 
assured the Portuguese envoy that times had changed 
since he entered into the peace of 1617. "Then," said 
he, "my chief anxiety was to bring up my sons. 
Today they are men who can lean upon their spears 
and sleep." Large reinforcements were however soon 
received from Goa, and the General attempted to 
replace diplomacy by military force. In January 
1000 Portuguese, 1000 Lascarins, and 1200 Kaffirs and 
Canarese took the field and advanced upon Malwana, 
The inhabitants of the district came together to render 
their submission, and, with the object of striking 
terror into them, the horrible expedient was adopted 
of delivering one of their number over to the Kaffirs, 
who cut him up and ate him in the sight of his 
wife and children, while others were given as slaves to 
the Portuguese Captains. Kaduwela was next occupied 
and step by step the Sinhalese were forced to with- 
draw before the advancing army. 

Treaty of 1633 219 

Envoys were however sent to Goa from both sides 
to discuss the terms of peace, though hostihties did 
not relax, and on the 15th of April 1633 a treaty was 
signed between the Viceroy and the Sinhalese ambas. 
sadors under the terms of which the Portuguese agreed 
to recognise the three sons of the Queen as heirs to the 
whole of the Sinhalese Kingdom, while in return the 
King was to pay a nominal tribute of an elephant 
a year and to allow a Franciscan to reside at his 
Capital, besides setting at liberty all his Portuguese 
prisoners and handing over the fort of Batticaloa. 
The King at first refused to ratify the agreement, 
for he was unwilling to acquiesce in any such token 
of vassalage as the tribute of an elephant would 
imply; in the following year, however, Diogo de Melo 
de Castro having in the interval arrived as General 
in succession to de Almeida, the terms were after 
much wrangling agreed to. 

King Philip IV. of Spain who had succeeded to the 
throne of Portugal in 1621, had been instant in urging 
on his Viceroy the importance of not slackening 
hostilities, but his country was unable to supply the 
men required to meet the unceasing drain. "It is 
of the utmost importance," wrote the Conde de Lin- 
hares on the 29th of November 1634, "that armadas 
should be despatched to the parts Your Majesty has 
indicated. Senhor, with what am I to create armadas 
if Your Majesty does not send me the men ? " 

The period of King Philip's reign was indeed one of 
great misfortune to Portugal. Her association with Spain 
had forced her into hostilities with the Hollanders 
and the English, and she now found herself treated, 
not as an independent kingdom, but as a Province. 
Spaniards were appointed to the highest offices of 
State, and Portuguese territory was freely given away 
to foreigners. Her revenue even was not spent for 
her own benefit, and her Cortes had ceased to exist. 

"250 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Her naval power at home was broken, and her foreign 
commerce was being rapidly destroyed. The China 
trade was well-nigh closed to her ; that of the Spice 
Islands was controlled by the Hollanders, who had 
"established themselves at Batavia ; Shah Jehan captured 
the headquarters of the Portuguese in Bengal ; Ormuz, 
of which they were as proud as of Goa, was taken 
by the Persians; the English blocked their intercourse 
with West India ; the Danes had acquired a centre at 
Tranquebar; and even the French were beginning to 
appear in the Indian waters. At the same time the 
wealth of the great Portuguese settlements in America 
was being conveyed by the shipload to enrich the 
shareholders of the trade companies in Holland ; Goa 
itself was blockaded from time to time, and all 
Portuguese vessels which were met with on the high 
seas were plundered. 

National bankruptcy was the natural result 
of this interference with the commerce of the 
country. No money could be found to pay for 
-such soldiers as were secured, though at this very 
time the monks and friars* who were supported by 
the State were in a condition of affluence. The num 
bers of these latter had no'^ assumed astonishing 
proportions, and in 1623 the Viceroy had reported 
that in Goa there were twice as many friars as all 
the other Portuguese put together. The bulk of the 
men who were sent to serve in the Indian army 
hastened to enter a religious Order, and the amazing 
"dishonesty practised over the recruiting of the Portu- 
guese forces, whereby shiploads of infants were 
despatched under the name of soldiers, contributed 
in no less degree to fill the Convents. The arrogance 
of some of the Orders was beyond belief. The Jesuits 
had made themselves masters of Travancore and of 
the pearl fisheries off that coast ; they maintained 
armed men at their own expense, and even fought 
on the high seas with the King's officers. They had 
also succeeded in securing a general supervision over 

Raja Sinha and the Hollanders ^221 

the works of the fortresses in the North, of which 
they refused to render any accounts. The private 
possessions of the Orders were so large as to be a 
scandal, and legislation had to be passed to prevent 
further acquisition. 

This condition of decadence was reflected in 
events in Ceylon. The army had again got out of 
hand, and in 1635 rose once more in mutiny. It 
elected twelve Senators to administer its affairs and 
occupied the approaches to Colombo till it was allowed 
to elect its own officers. In 1636 King Senerat died 
and Maha Asthana, who had been administering 
the Government for some years, was proclaimed 
King under the title of Raja Sinha. lie was pre- 
pared to maintain the peace his father had entered 
into, but the action of the officer in charge at 
Batticaloa in assisting some rebels against him 
compelled him to reconsider his position. Not unnatu- 
rally he turned to the Hollanders, who were now 
firmly established at Fuiicat, and on the 9th of 
September 1637 he sent a letter offering them one 
of his ports if they would assist him against the 
Portuguese. As a result of this message two envoys 
appeared at Senkadagala on the 19th November of 
the same year with a promise of the required 
assistance,' on condition of the Hollanders being granted 
a monopoly of the cinnamon trade. 

Diogo de Melo was greatly alarmed at this 
development, for Raja Sinha's relations with him 
were so strained that the King had refused further 
communications. De Melo had been attempting to 
sow discord between Wijaya Pala and Raja Sinha, and 
had hinted that he was willing to support the former 
if he pressed his claims to the Throne. He now 
again wrote to Wijaya Pala, complaining of his 
brother's dealings with the Hollanders. He described 
the latter as "subjects and rebels of the King of 
Portugal, well-known to the whole of India as 

222 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

pirates, hated by all Indian Kings and potentates," 
and concluded with a threat to appeal to the sword. 

Meanwhile the Hollanders had come to an 
agreement with Raja Sinha, and had returned to 
Pulicat accompained by three Sinhalese Commissioners 
who had been ordered to report on the Hollanders* 
navy. These Commissioners arrived back in the 
Island on the 2nd of April 1638 accompained by three 
vessels under the command of Wilhelm Jacobsz 
Coster, to find that a great change had taken place 
in the circumstances of the Portuguese. 

Avarice had hastened that appeal to the sword 
which de Melo had threatened. The covetous 
General robbed a Portuguese trader of an elephant 
which Raja Sinha had presented to him, and in 
revenge the King seized on two handsome horses 
which the General had sent for sale within his 
Kingdom. A contemptuous message from Raja Sinha 
that the horses w^ould be restored as soon as the 
elephant was surrendered inflamed the General's rage, 
and the arrival of a large contingent from Malacca 
added weight to the vehement protestations with 
which he wrung an unwilling consent from his 
Council. Nine hundred Portuguese, 5000 Lascarins, 
and a number of Topasses, Canarese, and Kaffirs, formed 
the army of invasion. 

Realising the danger which threatened him 
the King sent the friar who was at Court, armed 
with a crucifix, to adjure the General in the name 
of that God Who, he believed, had come into the 
world to die for men, to desist from his unjust 
enterprise. De Melo replied with a brutal scoff, 
echoing the words of his Captain Major, Damiao 
Botado : "The little black is frightened. We will 
drag him out by the ears." 

Once again the Portuguese were allowed to 
enter the Capital unopposed, and having set on fire 
the city, the palace and the temples, they retired 

Battle of Gannoruwa 223 

on Balane, for in their haste they had left their com- 
municaticns unprotected. Night however overtook 
them at Gannoruwa before they could cross the river 
and they were compelled to halt, as the soldiers 
were exhausted and hungry. Raja Sinha's opportunity 
had come. A host of the finest woodsmen in the 
world were soon making their axes ring against the 
roots of the great forest trees, and the Portuguese 
realised with horror that they were trapped. The 
troops from Matale blocked the road back to Sen- 
kadagala ; from the surrounding forests a harassing 
and intermittent fire picked off every straggler ; while 
in front a strong force rendered it impossible to 
obtain water from the river except at the most serious 

The battle which now impended, that of Gannoruwa, 
was the last great battle of the Sinhalese race, and it 
produced a poet who is none the less notable that his very 
name is unknown. The Parangi Hatane, the Story 
of the Feringhees, is almost an Epic. It is the most 
spirited piece of literary composition in the language. 
It is no mere medley of tinkling bells and scented 
flowers, of lovely women and precious gems. It 
rings with the passion of Pindar; it is Miltonic in 
its resounding roll of names; it laughs with the 
glee of Chevy Chase. Amidst the roar of the cannon, 
and the glint of the sword blades, and the shouting of 
honoured names— the contempt for the eater of beef 
and the scorn for the drunken Kaffir— one central 
idea runs thicugh it all: "twas all but the Merit 
of the King." 

The morning of Palm Sunday, the 28th of March 
1638, was dawning as the Portuguese once more 
resumed their retreat in the effort to reach the 
ford across the river ; but no sooner had they 
started than the Sinhalese fell on the Lascarins who 
were in charge of the baggage and succeeded in 
separating them from the main body, whereupon 

224 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the coolies threw down their loads of rice and 
bread and biscuit, their jars of arrack and biskets 
of fowls, together with the munitioni, and escapad 
as best they could, while ths Lascarins by a des- 
perate rush succeeded in rejoining the main army. 
The slopes of Kiriwat Talawa lay at no great 
distance, and the object of the Portuguese was to 
entrench themselves there; but they had hardly 
reached the high ground when they found themselves 
surrounded on all sides. The jingals and other 
larger guns of the Sinhalese were hurried forwird 
and opened fire, and de Melo was soon constrained 
to beg for an armistice. Raja Sinha vouchsafed no 
reply, but on his orders his drummers made pro- 
clamation that if those Sinhalese who were with the 
Portuguese did not immediately leave than, they 
would all be put to the sword the next day. 

The General watched with dismay as the ranks 
of the Lascarins grew rapidly thinner, and then the 
attack began. With a terrific shout the Sinhalese 
rushed up the hill in an irresistible wave. Throw- 
ing their bows over the heads of the Portuguese 
they dragged them down to the ground, and slashed 
at their necks with their swords. The burly Kaffirs 
were mercilessly beaten as they sprawled over the 
slippery surface of the hill-side. To attempt resistance 
to the overwhelming numbers of the Sinhalese was 
certain death, and many threw themselves on their 
knees and implored for mercy. The Sinhalese in 
their triumph were like a crowd of riotous and cruel 
schoolboys. The Portuguese were stripped and flogged 
remorselessly betore they were put to death, many a 
one of them cursing the General with his last breath 
as the cause of this disaster. The Canarese were 
dragged away like bulls with their hands tied behind 
their backs, but they and the Kaffirs and thirty-three 
of the Portuguese were spared alive. A great pile 
oX heads was laid at the feet of the triumphant King, 

The King's Thank-qfermg 225 

who had conducted the fight from beneath the shade 
of a tre3; tha body of th3 Gansral could not be found 
though careful search was made, but his sword was 
discovered and presented to the victor. 

The dsstructioQ of the invading army was 
complete; and at Djdanwala Dewale the grateful King 
offered his headdress of gold and his sword of steel 
as a humble thank-offidng to the Power that ruled 
the fate of the battle. 



1 An Amunam varies from 24,000 to 26,000 nut«. 

3. Their defection gave the death-blow to the policy of inter- 

marriage, for they were closely connected by marriage 
with the chief Portuguese families in Colombo. 
S. The exploits of de Sa made a great impression on the 
Sinhalese, by whom he was deified, along with the blood- 
thirsty Simao Correa, who seems to have come to a 
violent end some time previously. De Sa's body was 
•cremoniously cremated on the King's orders. 

4. If reliance is to be placed on the stories heard by Niccolao 

Manucci, who was in India from 1656 to 1717, the 
morality of the Friars in Ceylon was not different from 
that of the rest of their countrymen in the East. (See 
Storia do Mogor, Irvine's Trans, iv. 152-153.) 


To crown Raja Sinha's joy, on the 10th ot May 
following Admiral Adam Van Westerwold joined Coster 
at Batticaloa with the rest of the promised fleet. Raja 
Sinha himself arrived four days later accompanied 
by 15,000 men, leaving Wijaya Pala with the rest of 
the anny to menace Colombo. On the 18th the 
combined forces attacked the Portuguese position, and 
after a bombardment lasting four hours, Westerwold's 
guns compelled the garrison to surrender. 

Five days later a treaty was entered into between 
Raja Sinha, "Emperor and King of Ceylon and Candia," 
and Westerwold, acting on behalf of "Their Illustrious 
High Mightinesses the States General of the United 
Netherlands and His Princely Excellency Frederick 
Hendrick, Prince of Orange," by which the King 
accepted the Hollanders as his "friends, allies and 
protectors" against the "great and intolerable deceit 
and impertinence of, and annoyance created by, the 
Portuguese." It was agreed that the booty found in 
all forts captured by the allied powers should be 
equally divided between the two High Contracting 
Parties, and that, should the King so desire, the 
positions should be occupied by garrisons with 
sufficient artillery for their protection against the 
Portuguese. The King for his part undertook to 
strengthen the fortifications where required, to pay 
the salaries of the garrisons employed in holding 
them, and to allot the Hollanders suitable places for 
the storage of their merchandise. He agreed not to 
begin hostilities without previously consulting them, 
to render them assistance by counsel and deed, and 
to repay in kind all expenses incurred by them on 
his behalf. The Hollanders were to be allowed 

228 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

unrestricted freedom of trade, with a monopoly of the 
commerce in cinnamon, pepper, wax and ivory. The 
trade in elephants was, however, reserved to the 
King, though a mostfavoured-nation clause was inserted 
by which he undertook to supply the Hollanders 
each year with as many of thase animals as he sold 
to others. 

The Treaty further guaranteed the extra-terri- 
toriality of the Hollanders, and while it secured for 
their merchants untrammelled access to the country, 
made it incumbent on the Sinhalese to provide the 
necessary transport for all goods purchased by them. 
Provision was made for the extradition of criminals; 
communication for the purposes of trade or otherwise 
between the Portuguese and the Sinhalese was 
forbidden, and the Portuguese declared the eternal 
enemies of both parties. Cacholic priests in particular, 
"who alone are the cause of commotion, dissen- 
sion and disturbance, and are the destruction of 
kingdoms and countries wherever they happen to be," 
were not to be allowed to enter the country. Finally 
all prize ships captured on the high seas were to 
be the property of the Hollanders. 

Such were the terms of this important Treaty. 
On its conclusion de Melo's swcrd was presented to 
Westerwold, who sailed away to Batavia on the 4th 
of June 1638, accompanied by two Sinhalese ambas- 
sadors, and taking with him a supply of cinnamon, 
wax, and pepper, which had been sent to him by 
the King, while Coster remained in charge at Batti- 
caloa. ^^n the 29th October tne ambassadors returned 
with a despatch from the Governor-General Antonio 
van Diemen and the Council of India, directed— 
with the fulsome obsequiousness which the practice 
of the Spanish Court had rendered familiar among 
the aiplomatists of Europe— to "ll.e Creat and 
Mighty Radio Singha, Emperor of ths kland of Ceylon; 
King of Kandy, Cote, Seytabaca, Dambadoney, 

The Policy of the Hollanders 229 

Anarrajapore, Jaffnapatam; Prince of Uva, Mature, 
Dinavaco, Quatre Codes; Grand Duke of the Seven 
Codes; Count of Cotenwe, Trinquemale, Batacalo, 
Vilacam, Vintana, Dumbra, Pandjapato, Hewerta, 
Putalon, Balane, Gaele, Beligaon, Calature, Columbo, 
Negumbo, Chilao, Madampe, Calpety, Aripature, Manaer; 
Lord of the Pearl Fishery, Gems, and the Golden 

This letter contain&d a confirmation of the 
Treaty which the Council, adopting the Sinhalese 
metaphor, hoped would last "as long as the Sun and 
the Moon shall lighten the earth with their rays." 
The King, who was unaccustomed to the craft and 
diplomacy of the Hollanders, was completely deceived 
by their show of deference, and regarded with 
delight the powerful assistance which he had succeeded 
in purchasing ; but the views of the Hollanders were 
different. They had already made up their minds 
that the expulsion of the Portuguese did not necessarily 
imply the cessation of European interference in the 
country, and Raja Sinha was in their eyes nothing 
more than a convenient tool and source of supply 
for the funds necessary for the war with the 
Portuguese. They stood to lose nothing in case of 
the failure of the attempt, while it was incumbent 
on the King, if he was to achieve the object on 
which he had set his heart, to assist the Hollanders 
in rendering their fortifications impregnable. Once 
the Portuguese were gene and the Hollanders were 
safe within those fortifications, who was there to 
drive them out of the country ? 

In pursuance of this policy they did not shrink from 
tactics of a d ibious nature. The third section of the 
treaty, for mstance, dealt with the occupation of the 
captured forts; but whereas in the Portuguese copy which 
the King could read there was a proviso to the effect 
that they were to be garrisoned only if the King 
so desired, this clause was deliberately omitted in 

230 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

the Dutch version. Bearing this in mind, it becomes 
possible to get a clear understanding of the subse- 
quent dealings of the Hollanders with the Sinhalese 

Dom Antonio Mascarenhas was hurried across 
from India as General, and all available Portuguese 
forces were diverted to the defence of Ceylon. The 
war dragged on, and the reinforcements they had 
received enabled the Portuguese to push back the 
Sinhalese and re-occupy Menikkadawara ; but in the 
meantime there was trouble at the Sinhalese Court. 
Kumara Sinha had early followed Senerat to the grave, 
and Raja Sinha had taken possession of his principality 
without sharing it with Wijaya Pala, as the latter 
demanded. This embittered the Prince, and he 
appears on account of it to have lent a readier ear 
to the suggestions of the Portuguese. Gallant war- 
rior though he had shown himself to be, a curious 
vein of sentiment ran through his somewhat feeble 
character. The influence of his early Portuguese 
training manifested itself in strong pro-European 
tendencies, and his attempt to smuggle out of the country 
the prisoners who had been captured at Gannoruwa 
finally led to an open rupture with the King. In 
September 1638 the sword was drawn between the 
two brothers, but Wijaya Pala and his 8000 men were 
defeated, and the Prince himself was taken prisoner. 
Raja Sinha however was not prepared to deal harshly 
with the brother who had helped him so well in 
his hour of need, and merely kept him in surveill- 
ance at Senkadagala. 

Early in the following year Antonio Caen 
reached the Island with another fleet of the Hollanders, 
to the great consternation of the Portuguese. Instead, 
however, of attacking Colombo as the King desired, 
he proceeded to capture the petty fort of Trincomalee, 
which surrendered in May after resisting a few days. 
In December of the same year a second fleet appeared 

Negotnbo Captured 7&\ 

bringing 1500 soldiers under the command of the Director 
General Philip Lucaszoon. The men were landed in 
the neighbourhood of Negombo, and the Portuguese 
army which was engaged in watching the move- 
ments of the Sinhalese hurried thither, and in spite 
of a disparity of numbers attacked the Hollanders 
with the utmost boldness. A fierce struggle followed 
but though the Hollanders were driven from their 
first line of defence, the weight of numbers told in 
the event in their favour, and the Portuguese were 
thrown back till they finally broke in confusion and 
fled. Raja Sinha's army had hurried down after the 
Portuguese, and on the 6th of February 1640 the 
allied forces laid siege to Negombo which was carried 
by assault three days later. The battered walls were 
taken charge of by the Hollanders, who proceeded 
at once to repair and strengthen them. Raja Sinha, 
greatly annoyed at the overbearing attitude of Lucas- 
zoon, insisted that they should be razed to the ground 
in accordance with the option reserved to him under 
the third clause of the Treaty ; but Lucaszoon was 
obdurate, and on the 13th of February Raja Sinha 
quietly withdrew to a distance, and refused to see 
the Director General again, though when, even after 
this, Lucaszoon fell seriously ill, the King in spite 
of their quarrel hastened to do what he could to 
assist him in his distress. 

Alexander the Great had Hindus attached to 
his army to attend to such wounds as his own 
physicians could not heal, and the medical works of 
Charaka and Susruta, who lived at least 2500 years 
ago, are still valued. The Sinhalese have always paid 
considerable attention to the subject of medicine, and 
as early as the second century B. C. Gamani had 
not only established hospitals throughout the country, 
but had appointed a doctor for every group of six- 
teen villages. Six centuries later King Buddadassa 
who appears to have been familiar with the opera- 

232 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

tion for appendicitis, set apart a fixed proportion of 
the revenue from the royal lands for the upkeep of 
a medical department. "I cannot but admire," wrote 
Antonio Teixeira, who was in the Island in 1588, "at 
those who call all physicians Barbarians, that are not 
Greeks or Latins . . , There have bsen, and still are, 
in Persia, Arabia and India many Physicians so 
excellent in their art that they are fit to be Professors in 
any country." 

The Sinhalese have long known the 
value of the open air treatment, and so great 
is the efficacy of their antiseptic oils that they 
still treat successfully serious cases of fracture with- 
out having resort to amputation. Not only is their 
skill great in dealing with diseases such as dysentery 
which are incidental to a hot climate, but they 
also claim to be able to treat cases of 
hydrophobia and snaka bite. They understand 
thoroughly the art of dieting a patient, and their 
system has been adopted by some of the most 
experienced of the TDhysicians who have come to 
the country after a training on Western lines. As 
low dieting approaching to starvation is the founda- 
tion on which their treatment for all disorders of 
the digestive organs is based, the system— as Garcia 
de Orta pointed out in 1563 — was not appreciated 
by Europeans. "The cure was for the Gentiles," 
he wrote, "who eat nothing with blood." Hypnotism 
has been always employed, though it is branded 
to-day by well-meaning persons under the name of 
"devil-ceremonies." The effects of the exhalations of 
different trees, of the contact of different metals 
with the human body, of the rays of the sun at 
varying hours, have like-wise all been made the 
subject of careful study ; and the experience and 
observation of ages have left to the Sinhalese a 
great store of knowledge, of which the Portuguese, 
be it said to their credit, took advantage to no 
small extent/ 

Capture of Galle 233 

Such were the physicians whom the King now 
sent to attend on Lucaszoon, but the latter was so 
ill that he was obliged to sail away, leaving Coster 
in charge. With much tact Coster succeeded in 
pacifying the King, and it was arranged to make 
a dash on Galle, the Hollanders proceeding by sea, 
the Sinhalese by land. 

The Portuguese fort of Santa Cruz de Galle 
occupied the rising ground which forms a promontory 
on the western side of the extensive Bay, the 
natural beauties of the surroundings of which do not, 
however, compensate for the dangers of its hidden 
rocks. A sandy depression connects the promontory 
with the mainland, which rises sufficiently to command 
the fort. On the side facing the sea the position 
was well defended by the natural ruggedness of the 
coast, while a line of ramparts with three bastions 
served to protect the landward side. 

As the fleet sailed southward along the coast 
a body of Lascarins from Colombo kept pace with it, 
but was unable to prevent the Hollanders from 
landing on the eastern side of the Bay, and entren- 
ching themselves close to the town outside the fort. 
The next day an attempt was made to drive them 
away from their position. The fight was desperately 
maintained, and the Portuguese claimed to have 
killed eight hundred of the enemy, but were none 
the less compelled to withdraw to within the fort 
with the loss of their Commander as well as that 
of seventy men— a not inconsiderable proportion of 
the entire force at their disposal. A heavy bombard- 
ment of the walls was now begun and this was 
maintained till they were sufficiently broken down to 
allow of an assault, which was carried out on the 
13th of March. In spite of the unequal numbers 
the Portuguese resisted with the utmost gallantry, 
and over a hundred of them lay dead before the 


234 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Hollanders forced their way in. Everyone who was 
found with arms within the walls was put to the 
sword, while the rest were hurriedly taken on board 
the Hollanders' vessels and despatched to Batavia. 
A half share of the plunder was allotted to the 
King, who was delighted at the success, though he was 
suspicious of the conduct of the Hollanders in 
beginning the assault before the time that had been 
agreed upon with his Mudaliyars, and though he 
was persuaded that he had been defrauded in the 
division of the spoil. The Kaffirs and Canarese who 
had served with the Portuguese were taken 
charge of by the Hollanders, 1500 Sinhalese 
prisoners were delivered over to the King, and "to 
prevent all future unpleasantness" permission was 
granted to the soldiers to marry the numerous 
Mestico widows and the few unmarried women who 
were in the town. Captain Walraven de St. Amant 
with 196 m3n occupied the fort on the King's 
account, and Coster also cook up his residence there 
as President of the Company's people at Galle. 

The loss of this port, the great value of which 
had been frequently insisted on by the King, 
created such perturbation among the Portuguese that 
there were those who urged the desirability of 
abandoning Colombo itself. This desperate counsel 
was however rejected, and all the available troops 
were mustered to defend the town, while reinforce- 
ments were hurried across from India. Meanwhile 
internal troubles which were sternly repressed kept 
Raja Sinha occupied at heme. He called upon the 
Hollanders to present their bill, for he was anxious 
to pay them what was due tcfore asking them for 
more soldiers; but this prompt settling of accounts 
did not suit the Hollanders, whose policy it was to 
involve the King in pecuniary obligations to them. 
The relations between the parties consequently grew 
so strained that Coster decided to wait upon the 

Coster at Court 235 

King in person, and he presented himself at Court 
at Senkadagala on the \lt\i of July 1640. Unfortu- 
nately there was friction from the beginning. Coster's 
interpreter was arrested while having a secret 
interview with Wijaya Pala ; the portrait of the Prince 
of Orangs which had been presented to the King 
was returned without a word of explanation; and 
the Sinhalese courtiers bore themselves towards 
Coster and his suite with cold reserve. 

Coster, however, submitted a Memorandum setting 
out the points to which he invited the King's attention. 
He begged that a supply of cinnamon, wax, and pepper 
might be prepared against the next sailing season in 
part payment of the Company's claim; that the 
freedom of trade which had been promised might 
be made a reality; and that parties desirous of 
trading with ths Hollanders should not be interfered 
with. He further asked for some villages in the 
neighbourhood of Galle for the maintenance of the 
soldiers, at the same time requesting that directions 
should be given to the King's Disawa to see that 
provisions were regularly delivered to the garrison. 
He complained, moreover, of the condition of the 
local curr3i:y, aai re:i'j33tel that steps should be 
to^vards the establishment of a Mint as provided 
for in the treaty of Batticaloa. In conclusion he 
urged the King to supply vessels for the purpose of 
guarding the rivers, and to erect a fireproof store 
at Kottiyar for the Company's use. 

The King sent his reply in writing, expressing 
regret at the delay in meeting the claims of the 
Hollanders, and attributing the delay to the im- 
poverished condition of the country. He undertook 
to supply a large quaaticy of cinnamon as soon as 
Bitti:abi should be handed over to him, but asked 
for a detailed statement of the entire claim arainst 
him before further reinforcem.ents were sent. He 
moreover declared that everyone was at liberty to 
trade with the Company, so Icng as it did not 

236 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

infringe the royal monopoly. The irregularity in 
the supply of provisions he stated to be due to the 
devastation of the countryside in the neighbourhood 
of Galle, but he promised to allow the Hollanders 
some villages as requested, and agreed to build the 
vessels and construct the store as soon as the 
country should be more settled. With regard to the 
question of the currency, he pointed out that the 
matter was seriously complicated by the depreciated 
Portuguese coin which was held in stock in the 
Portuguese districts. 

In the meantime Coster had learnt that some 
Indians had come to the Court with an offer of 
assistance to the King, and that these men were 
traducing the Hollanders; and he was still further 
incensed at a message from the Chiefs occasioned by 
his having gone armed into the King's presence. 
He expressed himself very warmly on this latter 
subject to the King, who at the same interview 
directed that the reinforcements which were said 
to be on the way should be sent to attack Colombo, 
though he declared that he himself would be unable 
to render much assistance for at least three years, 
owing to the condition of the country. Coster was 
then given permission to depart. 

Scarcely had he started on his way when he 
was overtaken by a Sinhalese courtier, named Colombo 
Nainde, who had been ordered to search a slave who 
had joined himself to Coster's train. The owner of 
the slave, a Portuguese priest, had missed some 
valuables ; but though the slave was stripped and 
searched, nothing v/as found on him. Coster in a 
passion took from his own neck the gold collar with 
which the King had presented him and threw it at 
Colombo Nainde's feet, declaring that after the insult 
to which he had been exposed, that chain might be 
used to make good the priest's loss. Colombo Nainde, 
however, endeavoured to pacify him and replaced the 
chain with much ceremony round his neck. 

Death of Coster 237 

The wild village of Nilgala was at length 
reached, and there the arrogance and hasty temper 
of Coster brought about his death. He called for 
some milk, and as there was delay in procuring it, 
struck the Mudaliyar who commanded his escort on 
the chest with his cane. The Sinhalese who witnessed 
this outrage raised a great tumult and attacked the 
Hollanders with their pikes. Coster tried to escape 
into a house, but, as he stooped to enter through 
the low door, he was run through by the spears of 
the Sinhalese and decapitated. 

On the 8th of September Thyssen, who was 
in charge of the Hollanders at Batticaloa, received a 
letter from the King expressing his regret at what 
had occurred, and conveying a hope that this would 
not interfere with the friendly relations subsisting 
between him and the Hollanders. Thyssen hurried 
at once to Galle, only to find that the amorous 
St. Amant, who had fallen in love with a young Portu- 
guese woman, had deserted to the enemy with a few 
of his companions, and had made his way to Colombo. 
St. Amant's report of the condition of things at Galle, 
where the garrison was suffering great want, did 
much to raise the spirits of the Portuguese, for 
Negumbo was known to be in even worse plight. 
At the same time the fortunate capture of an enemy 
vessel conveying specie to Masulipatam enabled 
Mascarenhas to give the soldiers a double allowance 
of pay. 

Nevertheless the condition of affairs in the East 
was, from the Portuguese point of view, extremely 
gloomy. The Hollanders had obtained an almost 
complete control over the trade of the Far East, and 
were adopting an increasingly aggressive attitude on 
the coasts of India. Their fleets were continually and 
in every quarter harassing the ships of the Portu- 
guese, and hovered round even in the immediate 
vicinity of Goa. Naval engagements were frequent, 

23S Ceylon and the Portuguese 

but had no decisive results. Such was the lack of 
funds that once again public offices had to be put 
up for sale. Malacca was in danger, and King Philip, 
while urging the importance of straining every nerve 
to preserve that important settlement, was obliged to 
confess that in view of the trouble created by the 
Hollanders in Brazil, it was not possible to send any 
assistance. The Viceroy replied that under the cir- 
cumstances it appeared that the time had come to 
wind up affairs in the East and return home. A 
terrible blow was dealt to ihe Portuguese when in 
1639 the Hollanders sailed to Murmagoa, one of the 
two ports of Goa, and set fire to the three great 
galleons which lay at anchor there. In August of 
the following year they began the siege of Malacca, 
which they succeeded in capturing a few months 

In September 1640 the Conde de Aveiras 
arrived in India as Viceroy. He realised that the 
position of affairs was nearly desperate, and that 
unless help was ser^t to Ceylon as quickly as possible, 
everything there would be lost. Don Philip Mascarenhas 
wi> S2h:t3l f^r thi diffi:ult task. Not only was 
he recognised as possessing great talents, but he had 
also much wealth which, it was thought, he would 
not hesitate to expend on behalf of his King ; while 
at the same time his appointment was likely to be 
less irritating to his brother Dom Antonio who was 
then General, than that of a stranger. With Mas- 
carenhas went Joao Ribeiro, then a boy of fourteen, 
who has left us in his Fatalidade Hisiorica, the fruits 
ot his eighteen years in Ceylon, a lively and valuable 
account of the last years of the Portuguese in that 

The arrival in Ceylon of Dom Philip was soon 
followed by the recapture of, which sur- 
rendered on the 9th of November 1640, and the 
defeat of a Sinhalese army which was in the neigh- 

Fiigh t of Wijaya Pala 239 

bourhocd. Raja Sinha, who had come down to the 
low country, retired on Senkadagala, and the entire 
coast from Colombo to the neighbourhood of Galle 
declared for ths Portuguass. The Hollanders viewed 
the turn of affairs with anxiety. They feared, not 
without reason, that the loss of the Matara Disawani 
would result in that of the whole cinnamon trade ; 
Galle itself was being threatened, and they were not 
sure as to the temper of ths King. He had demur- 
red to paying certain itexTis in the bill which had 
been presented to him. Trincomalee and Negombo, 
he had pointed out, had been garrisoned by the 
Hollanders not only without any request from him 
to that effect, but in opposition to his expressed 
wish. Under the circumstances he denied that he 
was in any way responsible for the expenditure 
incurred in their maintenance. He was however very 
angry with Mascarenhas about a threat which the 
latter had held out to him to place Wijaya Pala on 
the throne, and he accordingly sent an embassy to 
Batavia to discuss matters. Before long Galle was 
blockaded by the Portuguese, and their armies also 
penetrated into the Four and Seven Korales, but 
could effect little beyond laying the country waste. 

In the meantime Wijaya Pala himself had raised 
the standard of revolt in Uwa ; his rebellion however 
ended in failure, and he was obliged to escape down 
the Idelgashinna Pass into Saparagamuwa, where he 
was received by the Captain Major with effusive 
protestations of the gratitude of the Portuguese for 
the attitude which he had maintained towards them 
at such terrible risk to himself. Wijaya Pala was 
much pleased and asked for the services of three 
companies of Portuguese, promising on his part to 
assist them to drive the Hollanders out of the Island. 
The Captain Major was, however, unable to comply 
with this request without the authority of the 
General, and the Prince showed in his face how 

240 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

grievously he felt the disappointment. To make 
matters worse an aged noble, who had brought up 
the Prince as a child and had accompained him in 
his flight, bluntly expressed his dissatisfaction at the 
manner in which the Portuguese proved their 
gratitude, whereupon the Captain Major in a burst 
of uncontrollable rage, ordered him to be arrested and 
executed on the spot. 

The unhappy Prince realised too late the 
mistake he had made in placing himself in the hands 
of the Portuguese. For two days he refused to see 
the Captain Major, but at length was prevailed on 
to go to Malwana to meet the General. He was 
received by Mascarenhas with a similar ceremonious 
courtesy and like protestations of gratitude. Two 
chairs covered with crimson velvet and gold were 
placed on a dais, and there Wijaya Pala and the 
General sat down side by side. The Prince, who 
was now about thirty-four years of age, impressed 
everyone by his dignity and regal bearing. He was 
slim of body and carried himself very erect; his 
long hair was curled at the ends and his beard was 
worn full in the Portuguese fashion. For a whole 
hour the two sat there exchanging compliments, 
Wijaya Pala toying with the great catseye, as large 
as a musket ball, which was bound to his arm. 
Then with a passionate exclamation he poured out his 
grief at the manner in which his trusted adviser 
had been done to death. Mascarenhas did his best 
to console the agitated Prince, and it was finally 
decided that he should go on to Colombo, where 
again he was received with full military honours. 

A Council was summoned to deliberate as to v/hat 
action should be taken to assist him in regaining 
his principality ; but after much discussion a pedantic 
adherence to their standing instructions regarding 
the conversion of heathen Princes who fell into their 

The King end ike Hollanders 241 

piwer, prevented the PortugueEe frcm ccmplyirg with 
his request, and the disappointed Prince left for 
Goa, where he subsequently embraced Christianity 
and died in 1651. His departure relieved Raja Sinha 
of an embarrassing kinsman, and enabled him to seize 
on the Matale district for himself. 

In October 1641 the King's Ambassadors 
returned from Batavia. The communications which 
passed between Raja Sinha and the Council there 
have been preserved end form interesting reading. 
The Council, pursuirg its policy of deferential 
obsequiousness, had reported to the King with what 
state and ceremony his previous letter had been 
received. "It is a proper disposition," replied the 
King, "in the person who occupies such a place as 
you do." His irdigrEticn at the attitude assumed 
by Lucaszoon finds expression in the following 
passage : "He put on one side the Articles of the 
Treaty which was made at Batticaloa, desiring to 
alter it in som.e matters so as to act contrary 
f lereto. And as the Dutch nation is considered and 
a knowledged in all regions to be trustworthy in 
its professions, and as it is not befitting in Kings 
of my standing to abandon what has been once 
ordered and agreed upon, I, seeing that the aforesaid 
Philippe Lucas enlarged the scope of the Treaty in 
many matters contrary to its articles, once agreed 
upon and sworn to, desired not to abide by what he 
at that time determined upon." Nevertheless, 
Lucaszoon's conduct has not shaken his confidence 
in the Hollanders: "So lor g as I live I shall love 
the Dutch nation, regarding it as the light of mine 
eyes, and my successors shall do the same, yea, so 
long as the Sun and Moon shall shine." In proof 
of his unswerving good faith he had sentenced the 
man who had caused the death cf Coster to be 
hanged, though he was satisfed himself that it was 


242 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

Coster himself who was to be blamed for that tragic 

Yet in spite of all he was not prepared to 
pay the expense of the garrison which had been 
maintained at Trincomalee against his wishes. If, as 
he said, the Hollanders' garrisons had suffered from 
want, it was because they had been kept in the 
forts despite his opposition. If he had chosen to 
call the Hollanders faithless, he would have had 
good reason for doing so, for they had throughout 
acted in defiance of the terms of the Treaty. He 
was, however, prepared to overlook all their offences 
in this respect. "When Colombo is captured the 
booty found therein shall be equally distributed and 
the city itself destroyed, leaving not one stone 
upon another. I have for many a year had a longing 
to destroy the city of Colombo, and to raze it to 
the ground, for it is the origin and the mother of 
all the evil that has come upon this Island and the 
lawful Kings thereof." 

The Hollanders had suggested that when 
the Portuguese were driven out, it would be 
well for the safety of the country to maintain 
four forts manned by Hollanders; but the King 
retorted that there was no such stipulation in the 
Treaty, and that he was quite as competent to protect 
his country, once the Portuguese were gone, as his 
great namesake of Sitawaka had been. Yet through 
all he had implicit confidence in his Allies, and he 
frankly told them: "If you went away I should not 
enjoy the honour which I have long striven after, 
that of driving the Portuguese away from this 
Island." In answer to their protestations of loyalty he 
replied: "I shall remird you that Kings of my 
position do not brcck their Fcyal word, ard thus 
promise you, on my honour as a King, that I shall 
keep the word which I have given, to observe the 
Treaty and to give no occasion to break it." 

The Portuguese and the Hollanders 243 

Attempts on the part of the Portuguese to 
seduce the garrison of Galle were attended with very 
slight success; but though the blockade had now 
been maintained for a long period, they still feared 
to venture on a siege. An assault was out of the 
question, for though the garrison was weak the 
walls were strong. A siege was equally impracticable, 
since vessels were lacking to bring the necessary 
guns from Colombo. Some laid all the blame on 
Mascarenhas, asserting that he was too busy trading 
to attend to the war, and the Viceroy found it necessary 
to address some severe despatches to him; but the 
truth was that ths Portuguese were afraid to face 
the risk of a possible defeat. As Mascarenhas pointed 
out to the Viceroy: "All the Sinhalese already 
(considered; themselves as relieved from any Christian 

If the attitude of ths Portuguese was 
characterised by a certain lack of self-confidence, 
that of the Hollanders can only be described as 
pusillanimous. During January and February 1642 
their fleet kept cruising about in the neighbourhood 
of Colombo, but after much solemn deliberation it 
was decided that the position was too strong to be 
attempted and that it v/as better to recapture 
Negombo. On their sailing thither, however, the 
hearts of the Hollanders again failed them, and 
they hastened once more back to Galle. In the 
meantime great changes had taken place in Europe. 
France had been moulded into a mighty kingdom by 
the hand of Richelieu, and in December 1640 an 
insurrection in Portugal had ended the Sixty Years' 
Captivity, and placed the eighth Duke of Braganza 
on the throne as King Dom Joao IV. This revolu- 
tion was welcomed with joy by the United Provinces, 
who hastened to conclude a treaty with the once 
more sovereign State. Under this Treaty, which was 
dated the 12th of June 1641 and which was to come 
into force in the East Indies a year after its con- 

244 Ceylon and the Pcritfgtcese 

elusion, there was to be peace between the two 
nations for a period of ten years, each nation remain- 
ing in possession of what it actually held at the 
date of its promulgation. All Allies of the two High 
Contracting Parties were equally included in its terms. 

The declaration of the peace in Ceylon was 
however delayed by negotiations regarding the terri- 
torial limits of the fort of Galle, which were claimed 
by the Hollanders, and hostilities continued till the 
matter was settled. On the 11th of May 1643 a body 
of two hundred Portuguese was attacked by a strong 
force of Hollanders at Akuressa, but so gallant was 
the defence that after a fight lasting five hours the 
Hollanders fled in confusion, leaving behind them 
over a hundred dead and fifty prisonsrs. In conse. 
quence of this defeat Van der Laen and Doncq, the 
two officers in command, were ordered to proceed 
to Batavia to be placed on their trial. 

The failure of the p3a:e negotiations, which 
had been referred by the Ganaral to the Council at 
Goa, put the Batavian authorities on their mettle, 
and Francois Carron, Councillor of India, shDrtly 
arrived before Galle and landed with a force of 1400 
Europeans. Elaborate plans were laid for attacking 
the five hundred Portuguese who were encamped in 
the neighbourhood, but after a week's toil the attempt 
was abandoned as too dangerous, and Carron sailed 
away to Negombo, which he reached on the 7th of 
January 1644. Learning of this Dom Antonio Masca- 
renhas hurried up with 550 Portuguese, and, with 
the reckless courage which had throughout marked 
his career, attacked the Hollanders ; but in spite of 
their gallantry the Portuguese were gradually hem. 
med in by the superior numbers of the enemy, Dom 
Antonio himself fell with no fewer than nine gun- 
shot wounds, and very few of his men left the field 


The feeble garrison that was withm the walls 

closed the gates and attempted a last desperate 

Peace declared 245 

resistance. A shower of blazing powder barrels greeted 
the Hollanders as they forced their way within ; the 
Captain in charge, fighting sword in hand, was 
hacked to pieces, while the rest of his companions 
were either killed or taken prisoner. The Hollanders, 
accompanied by 2000 of Raja Sinha's men, new st&rted 
by land for Colombo, but finding the Southern bank 
of the Kelani Ganga occupied by the Portuguese, their 
hearts failed them and they returned to Negcmho, 
whence Carron sailed away on the 18th of March 
1644, leaving a garrison of 500 men in occupation. 
Reinforcements from India now raised the 
available Portuguese army to 13C0 Europeans. In 
June 1644 they once more appeared before the town 
and after a month's siege attempted to carry it by 
assault. So mismanaged, however, was the affair that 
600 Portuguese were left dead before the walls, 
while a remanant of 400 dispirited men dragged 
themselves back to Colombo. Fortunately on the 10th 
of January 1645 the long discussed peace, which left 
each side in the possession of such terrritory as was 
de facto in its power, was agreed to, and the Portu- 
guese once more obtained a breathing space. 


An organised effort is at last being made rmong the 
nati res themselves to foster as much of their medical science 
as has survived a century of neglect and ignorant oppositicn. 


The conclusion of peace was followed by a 
disagreement between the Hollanders and Raja Sinha, 
who had found strong ground for complaint in the 
manner in which the negotiations had been conducted 
so far as they affected his interests. All the arts of 
cajolery were brought to bear in the effort to pacify 
him, while at the same time the Hollanders proceeded 
steadily with the work of establishing themselves in 
the Seven Korales. The King insisted on t'li removal 
of the garrison which had been left at Pannara from 
his territcr/, but under pretext of doing so the 
Hollanders smuggled in ammunition in casks of rice. 
Thereupon he sent an indignant letter pointing out 
that while the Council of Batavia was inviting him 
to take possession of the district, the local authori- 
ties were strengthening their forces in order to rob 
him of it, and adding that he was coming in person 
to find out what they were about. 

On the 13th of May 1645 Adrian van der Stel. 
late Commander of Mauritius, left Negombo for the 
camp at Pannara with one hundred and fifty men 
and two guns. Nothing further was heard till three 
days later, when a naked Hollander appeared at 
Negombo with a pitiful tale. Gorgeously clad in 
scarlet and carried in a palanquin, van der Stel was 
proceeding on his wry v^Ycn he was met by a 
Sinhalese officer who politely inquired from him what 
he was co.nj there with so many armed men, as the 

248 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

King himself had given a promise to see that the 
garrison at Pannara was escorted safely to Negombc. 
Van der Stel, with that arrogance which had previously 
brought disaster upon Coster, replied sharply that 
this was no concern of the King's. The officer 
earnestly begged him to consider his position ; the 
Sinhalese were there in strong force, and if he 
insisted on pursuing his course not a limb of the 
Hollanders would leave the place. 

The Hollander, however, was obdurate, and the 
Sinhalese opened fire. Van der Stel ran out his two field 
guns and fired on them with grape, but the Sinhalese 
s-kilfully withdrew to cover, whence they poured such a 
deadly hail of bullets into the ranks of the Hollanders 
that before long few of the latter were left alive. The 
Sinhalese then rushed on the demoralised remnants 
sword in hand. Van der Stel, begging for quarter, 
had his head cut off by the stroke of a sabre, and 
when one hundred and three lay dead on the ground, 
the remainder broke, and fled into the jungle. The 
King hearing the firing hurried up and issued a 
proclamation by beat of drum, promising to spare the 
lives of those Hollanders who had escaped. The head 
of van der Stel, placed on a silver dish and covered 
with a white cloth, was courteously sent to the 
commander of the garrison at Pannara, to be buried 
according to the rites of his people. 

The Sinhalese a'-my now appeared before the 
camp. A long line of ghastly heads fixed on pikes 
was carried round the stockade in procession, that 
the soldiers might see for themselves what had taken 
place; and then Raja Sinha called upon the garrison 
to surrender. In the course of the night he ran up 
earthworks of sufficient height to make it possible 
to fire down into the camp, and the next morning 
the entire force, numbering five hundred men, sur- 
rendered with all its baggage and ammunitioa. 

The Hollanders non-plussed 249 

The immediate result of this coup was that 
the Hollanders set about preparing for war, but upon 
calmer reflection they were fain to admit that they 
had put themselves in the wrong, and accordingly 
attenpted to enter into nsgDtiations. For six months 
the King met their overtures with a contemptuous 
silence, till in their perplexity they were obliged to 
beg for permission to send an ambassador to the 
Court, at the same time entreating that His Majesty 
might be pleased to hear him. It was not, however, 
till July 1647 that the indignant monarch vouchsafed 
a reply. The Portuguese too were making overtures 
to him, and the King for many months amused him* 
self by keeping the ambassadors of the two nations 
dancing attendance at his Court, and by confronting 
them each with the other. 

The year 1648 dragged on into 1649 and 
no progress had been made ; but in July of the 
latter year, to the great relief of the Hollanders, 
ambassadors appeared from the King with a 
conciliatory message and fresh proposals of his 
own. The ambassadors were received with a salute 
of eleven guns and three salvoes cf artillery, and the 
signing of the new agreement was celebrated by the 
ringing of joy-bells and the discharge of rockets. 
Nevertheless at this very moment Maatsuycker, who 
had succeeded Thyssen at Galle, was writing to his 
Principals in Batavia that the only means of dealing 
with the King was to employ force. The policy of 
double dealing ac opted by the Hollanders, indeed, 
made a final settlement impossible, and the King 
bluntly accused thsm of "tergiversations, subterfuges, 
and courtesies." He was enraged at the chicanery of 
the casta Hollandeza, as he contemptuously called them, 
and he coldly asked for a detailed statement of the 
exo3n323 thi/ hii incarrel in his service, pointing 
out that this hid ns73r b^^.i submitted to him in 
spite of his repeated demands. At length, however, after 
much angry correspondence, the quarrel was patched up. 

J53 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

The ensuing period of peace was a great relief 
to the Sinhalese, who were utterly weary of devasta- 
tion and slaughter. The people settled down once 
more to cultivate their fields and to rebuild the vil- 
lages which had been dsstroyed, while the King 
spent most ot his time in Badulla and Bintenna, 
away from the harassing cares of Government. He 
did not realise that ths Hollanders had already deci- 
ded that none of the territory which yielded cinnamon, 
and which was now in their power, was to be res. 
tored to him, and with a light heart he turned to 
those diversions which had always attracted him. 
His fjiii)53 fj: ai". ni 1 wii w^U-known, and 
stranse beasts were among ths most welcome presents 
which could be sent for his acceptance. A rhinoceros or 
an ibex was received with as much pleasure as an 
Arab steed. He had the reputation of being a good 
rider, and his skill in the hunting field is still 
celebrated in song. He was very particular about his 
kennel, and once wrote to inform the Hollanders that 
the mastiffs which they had sent him were fit neither 
to guard the palace gates nor to frighten people away, 
while their bearing and appearance were not pleasing. 
He liked hawking, and wrote with regret to inform 
the Hollanders of a hawk which he "had brought up 
with great love and tenderness, and taking him with 
me one day to the chase, I gave him wing, and ke 
disappeared for ever." He appreciated the Bird of 
Paradise plumes which were sent to him, and shewed 
his appreciation by wearing them. Like his father, 
he preferred European to the native Sinhalese music, 
and a fifer who had been captured at Pannara was 
received into high favour because he played "softly 
and with sweetness." When this man died the Hol- 
landers sent him another, but he f 3und "his manner 
of playing the instrum.ent a little harsh." 

He had a strong obje».tion to the custom of 
intermarriage, and learning that a Sinhalese woman 

Raja Sinha in pecce-iime 251 

at Galle had married a Hollander, he wrote to express 
his great annoyance. He admitted that such marri. 
ages had once prevailed while the Sinhalese had no 
native King to look after them, when the Portuguese 
baptised, fed and clothed them, and that 'some 
women, casting hanour and shame on one side, inter* 
married with them," but he was determined not to 
tolerate the evil usage now that they had a King of 
their own. 

On one occasion the Hollanders wrote to expos- 
tulate with him because he allowed himself to be 
addressed as "God," a custom which has obtained 
among peoples so diverse as the Romans and the 
Japanese. In reply he argued that the very God 
who created Kingdoms and Kings had shown 
his approval of the custom by punishing his two 
brothers, who had acted under the influence of jealousy 
becauss similar honours were not paid to them. 

The years of peace gave the Portuguese an 
opportunity to place the administration of the country 
in some state of order, 1 ut goo I administration 
was the last thought that entered their minds. 
They had found in Ceylon a conterted rsce and a 
fairly prosperous country, with a system of governmer t 
regulatsd by clearly denned and universal y 
accepted customio It is melancholy to reflect 
that th3 intervention of the most enterprising race 
in EuropB had succeeded in producing nothing but 
chaos. Out of the long list of high-born Fidalgos 
whom Portugal sent to Ceylon, it is difficult to point 
to one name as that of an enlightened statesman 
or high-principled administrator. Except fcr the 
seeds of Christianity which were sown among the 
population of the Coast, and their language— which haSp 
curiously enough, survived among the descendants 
of those who took their place— the Era of the 
Portuguese has passed away like a nightmare. No 
stately fabric remains as compensating gain for that 
religious fanaticism, t j which unple witness is bom^ 

252 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

by the desecrated ruins of those lovely structures 
which the piety of generations had strewn broad- 
cast over the face of the country. No great monument 
exists to perpetuate their nem.e, which is chiefly 
familiar to the peasant as that of the foulest disease 
which desolates the fever-haunted villages of the dry 
regions.^ No principle of legislation which is in 
operation to-day derives its origin from the epoch 
of their rule. A failure so ccmplete and so pitiful, 
where the possibilities of success had been so great 
and the original prospects so bright, can hardly be 
matched in the History of the Nations. 

Except in the case of the priests, ro Portuguese 
who came to Ceylon, whether as offcial or soldier 
or in the pursuit of trade, gave any ccrsiceraticn 
to the fact that he had a duty to perform towcrds 
the country. Whether he intended to settle down 
in the Island or not, he regarded it only as a mccns 
for the rapid acquisition of wealth. The cf 
the Generals was well nigh absolute and was subjected 
to the gravest abuse. Capital prrishrrent was 
inflicted on the slightest pretext, often with little 
or no justification, and was usually accompained with 
circumstances of revolting cruelty. In spite of the 
positive injunction of the King to the contrary, 
Christians were frequently sold into slavery by way 
of punishment. The hundreds of villages which 
under the Sinhalese Kings had been utilised for the 
remuneration of public servants and as the reward 
of good service were, under the Portuguese regime, 
distributed not with an eye to the benefit of the 
State, but to satisfy those who had by any means 
established a claim on the General. Even preferment 
which had received the Royal sanction was ignored 
where it did not suit the King's representative in 
the Island. 

The Public Service was a mass of corrup- 
vion. The trickery which was practised in the 

The Failure of the Portuguese 253 

sale of elephants was notorious; and cinnamon 
and precious stones proved no less fatal to the 
integrity of the Generals, whose trade speculations 
extended from arecanut to butter. The services of 
the Royal tenants and the supplies from the Royal 
villages which would have been invaluable for arming 
the forts, where the gun-carriages lay rotting, were 
diverted for the purpose of building the General's 
trading \e3sels; and not infrequently fictitious lists 
of soldiers were prepared with a view to the 
embezzlement cf the pay drawn upon them. 

Needless to say the lesser officials followed the 
example set by the General. With the Portuguese 
Disawas who had displaced the great Sinhalese of 
the type of Samarakcn and Navaratna, war was 
only a pretext for filling their own pockets at the 
expense of the King, and they carried on a brisk 
trade with the enen y even during the continuance 
of hostilities, levying contributions of areca-nuts 
from all and sundry. Ihe Vedors, indeed, were 
sometimes honest men, but that was not often. The 
great villages which they controlled kept their 
households in luxury, even while the patients in the 
Hospital, for which they were responsible, were 
starving. The Factors again entered all manner of 
fantastic items of expenditure in the Accounts, and 
helped themselves to what they wished at the King's 
Stores at their own price. The Ouvidors or Judges 
were rarely men of competent education, and justice 
was freely bought and sold. The circuits of the 
Maralleiros' were triumphant progresses during which 
their many hangers-on lived on the villager and 
extorted what mcnsy they could, while the Maralleiros 
themselves, by means of inquiries of an oppressively 
inquisitorial nature, took every opportunity that 
offered of penalising a poverty-stricken people, whose 
property consisted of little more than their instruments 
of tillage. Even in the General's Court, the work 

254 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

of which was controlled by his Secretaries, nothing 
could be transacted without the assistance of a bribe. 

In the military sphere things were no better. 
The Captains, who were expected to supply the 
soldiers with food, robbed them of their rice, as 
well as of a proportion of their pay vhich they 
received at long and irregular intervals. The soldiers 
naturally developed into brigands, and plundered the 
country-side till entire villages were abandoned by 
their inhabitants. More than cnce, as has teen 
seen, the army in desperation was forced into mutiny. 
The forts had no proper garrisons rcr adequate 
suDolies of munitions, their stores were ('epleted, and 
their ramparts were in ruins ; and all the while the 
ports were being r?refully watched to prevent 
complaints ficm rrpcbirg Goa. 

The villages held by the rehVious Orders were 
a source of much heprtburnirg. ThoFe which had 
been granted by Dh'irTiiTih's Sannas to ths 
Franrisrans were resumed by the Crown, till it was 
found that the cost of supporting the Order from 
the Treasury was exce?sive, and the villages were 
restored to it. to be taken b?ck and again restored, 
according to the exig3n':ies of th3 Revenue. In the 
same manner the Jesuits were deprived of the 
KalpHiya Peninsula, which they had successfully 
exnloited. The Government could not even snare a 
village for the ma'ntenance of perpetual Masses 
for the repose of the soul of Dharm?pala, rnd for 
the up-keep of the Chapel in which he was buried. 
There is unhapoily no reason to r'cutt that the 
Orders h*^d suffered from the siti3 ds^sneration as 
had manifested itself at Goa. They were charged 
with oppressing the villagers, with imprisoning, fining 
and flogging them, and with refusing to bury their 
dead without previous payment. Their defence was 
that what they did wa«?, as a rule, done in the 
interests of raligiaus discipline, ani that such charges 

The Failure of the Portuguese 235 

as they levied had been duly authorised. At any 
rate, they argued triumphantly, none could accuse 
thsm of the dishonesty, robbery and oppression which 
characterised the actions cf the officials as a class. 
That the quarrels between the Civil and Religious 
authorities had a very bad effect on the work of 
conversion the Portuguese in Ceylon, who had grown 
indifferent to ClLith n.Ltteis, did not greatly 

'Treat the natives v/ith justice and kindness" 
the King had written to his Viceroy on ths 12th 
of January 1607, ''for the work of conquest will 
progress more by such means than by force of arms." 
The spirit in which his Officers in the Ea3t carried 
out their master's orders has been seen. 

*'At the death of the King, the Lord Dom Joao 
Dharmona Pala Asthana, Emperor of Cota, when the 
Lord Dom Jeronimo de Azavedo succeeded to the 
Government of the Empire in the name of His Ma= 
jesty, at the Cortes which was held at Malwana to 
settle on the laws under which we natives were to 
live, promise was made to us to maintain our own 
laws, under which we had elected to live, because 
they were humane and kindly. It was with the aid 
of these laws that our Kings had ruled us and 
fostered our well-being for the 2200 years and more 
during which our native Princes bore rule over this our 
Island." Such are the opening words of the first 
paragraph of a petition presented in 1636 to Diogo 
de Melo by the Sinhalese. The promise therein 
referred to was the condition upon which the Sinhalese 
had accepted the King of Spain and Portugal as the 
King of Ceylon, but the terms of that promise had 
not been better observed in Ceylon by the Portuguese 
oflScials, than those en which Portugal recognised the 
King of Spain as being her King by Philip III and 
Philip IV. 

Th3 laws of the S!nhilese were customary 
laws basei upon certain broad principles of Equity. 

256 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

They were the growth of many centuries and obtained 
their sanction from the acquiescence of the people. 
A Code of law, as the term has been understood at 
Byzantium, was unknown amongst them, and every- 
thing was handed down by word of mouth among 
those whose duty it was to administer Justice. The 
decisions of these last were subject to a final appeal 
to the King, though the Law was always recognised 
as being above the King, and cases had been known 
where the King himself had been fined by his own 
Courts. It was probably owing to their utter indiff- 
erence to everything connected with the welfare of 
the people, that the Portuguese, when they became 
responsible for the administration of this law, failed 
to take any steps to have it committed to writing. 
So long indeed as the Mohottiars who had belonged 
to the Courts at Jayawardhana Pura and Sitawaka 
were alive to assist them with their knowledge, and 
so long as great Sinhalese noblemen presided over 
the Tribunals, the rights of the people were not 
endangered ; but when a foreigner possessing few 
qualifications apart from an entire ignorance and an 
unlimited avarice stepped into the place of the native 
Judge, and was allowed to exercise as much authority 
as he chose to arrogate to himself, the consequences 
which followed can well be imagined. 

The key-stone of the fabric of Sinhalese social 
life was caste, a word which has acquired for the 
European mind a somewhat evil connotation. It is 
probably not to exaggerate to assert that at this 
period, the middle of the seventeenth century, there 
could not have been found one Sinhalese who did not 
consider the system of caste an essential factor in a 
well-organised State. It must be firmly realised that 
the Sinhalese were not a commercial race, that they 
were without a foreign policy, and that they were 
utterly indifferent to everything outside their own 
country. It must also be borne in mind that the 
Monarchy which prevailed in Ceylon was the only 

The Failure of the Portuguese 257 

form of government of which the Sinhalese could 
conceive, and that sufficient land was available to 
support everyone, according to the prevailing standard 
of living, in comfort. The object on which each set his 
heart was contentment, and that the system as it obtained 
in Ceylon succeeded to a great extent in bringing about. 

The disabilities created by caste were 
mainly social ; and social distinctions under various 
names have existed among all peoples and at all 
times, and are of minor importance in the life of a 
nation. The real question is whether the system pre- 
vented the utilisation of the best intellects of the 
country to the fullest advantage ; and though caste did 
not interfere with the recognition of the merits of 
the soldier, and the skilled doctor and the artist 
would be sure of their reward, that question can 
only be answered in one way. Thanks to the spread 
of European education this is being realised more 
and more every day, and in another two hundred 
years will probably be admitted by all Sinhalese. 

The Portuguese ignored the distinctions which 
were cherished among the people of the country, 
not because they were opposed to caste as such, but 
because these distinctions stood in the way of the 
satisfaction of their own greed. The allotment of 
villages among them had placed them in a position 
of control over large numbers of dependants, whose 
services were strictly regulated by custom according 
to their social position ; and they proceeded to enforce 
their authority with a reckless disregard of all existing 
prejudices, and in a manner which was characterised 
by gross oppression and tyranny. 

The high-born man could take his share in any 
agricultural work, but he might not carry a burden. 
That task was confined to the lowest castes, and 
therefore, though the use of the palanquin had always 


258 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

been a privilege which had been guarded with the 
utmost jealousy, ^ the labour of bearing it has at the 
same time been regarded as one of the most degra- 
ding occupations to which a human being could be 
subjected. Now, however, every Portuguese claimed 
the right to keep his palanquin, and followed this 
up by compelling men of all ranks to act as bearers. 
The humiliation which this inflicted on the high- 
bom man was intense ; and the humiliation was 
aggravated when the low-born agents of the Portu- 
guese began to claim the same privilege. Cases were 
not unknown where unfortunate persons submitted 
to death rather than incur such disgrace. 

In like manner all castes without distinction 
were forced to labour at erecting the houses which 
formed a prominent feature of Portuguese social 
ambition— houses which, not unnaturally, were fre- 
quently marked out for destruction in the course of 
rebellions. This work again was the duty of special 
castes, who were at the same time entitled to their 
food, though the Portuguese never thought of fulfill- 
ing this their share of the contract. As landlords 
they were entitled to cooked provisions from their 
tenants when they visited their villages, and they 
took advantage of this to reside in them for long 
periods at a time, together with their families and 
their numerous dependants. At their departure the 
tenants would find their stores depleted and them- 
selves reduced to the brink of star\''ation. The 
position was even worse when some low-born Vidane 
or Superintendent was permanently stationed in the 
village to look after the lord's interests. 

When the rice crops on the lord's fields were 
reaped and were ready for partition between him, 
the tenant who had cultivated them, and the various 
parties who according to custom were entitled to a 
share, the landlord's agent would come and quarter 
himself on the cultivator for several days, during 

Tke Failure of the Portuguese 259 

which time the unfortunate man was obliged to 
keep him sumptuously supplied with food. The 
landlord's share was then separated, a specially large 
measure being used for the purpose, though where 
rice was sold on the landlord's account a measure 
of smaller capacity was employed. The tenant's fruit 
trees, which supplied him with so large a portion 
of his sustenance, were recklessly cut down when- 
ever his Portuguese land-lord required timber; and the 
produce of his garden and of his fold was taken 
by the landlord at the latter 's own valuation for the 
purposes of his trade. 

During the arecanut boom in particular 
every tenant was compelled to obtain the nut 
for the landlord's benefit, and where sufficient 
was not available from his own holding he had 
to secure it as best he could, being often compelled 
to travel several days' journey for the purpose. 
Even when he had collected a sufficient quantity, he 
was still obliged to convey it himself wherever it 
was required to be conveyed, to receive in the end 
for all his trouble about one-fourth of the market 
value. It was indeed a common occurrence for men 
to pawn their own persons or sell their children to 
enable them to obtain the necessary amount, and a 
case has been recorded where a Portuguese had one 
of his tenants crucified on the ground for failing to 
supply the quantity which had been demanded of 
him. In addition to the landlord's exactions, the 
agent also frequently insisted on a further twenty 
per cent as his own private perquisite. 

The Chaliya caste, that of the cinnamon peelers, 
was exposed to special oppression, so much so that 
entire villages fled to within the Sinhalese territory. 
So strictly were they kept to their work that they 
found little time to attend to the cultivation of their 
own lands, and were in consequence soon reduced 
to a condition bordering upon beggary. 

260 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

The hold of the Portuguese over their posses- 
sions, such as it was, could never have been main- 
tained except by the aid of the native troops, for it 
was on the exertions of the latter that their armies 
when in the field depended for their supplies. The 
lightness of foot and suppleness of limb of the 
Lascarins rendered them invaluable in guerilla war- 
fare, and the King repeatedly urged that everything 
possible should be done to keep them contented 
with Portuguese rule. Nevertheless they were treated 
in the same reckless fashion as the other natives : 
their villages were taken from them on the slightest 
pretext ; little provision was made for the mainten- 
ance of the families of those who died in war or 
from disease ; they were kept engaged in all manner 
of work to which they were not legitimately liable ; 
and while they were absent in the field, their women 
were exposed to the brutal lust of the soldiery. 

Under the Sinhalese customary law corporal 
punishment by flogging could not be inflicted 
except by the special order of the King; 
but every Portuguese had fancied himself 
a King within his own village. The high-handed 
treatment of the natives of the country was 
the more mischievous in effect in that the Sinhalese 
was intensely sensitive of his dignity. The manners 
of a gentleman were natural to him, and the 
lowliest spoke with no less correctness of diction 
than those of gentle birth. Those peculiarities which 
differentiate in other lands the spoken language of 
the uneducated from that of the educated have never 
prevailed in Ceylon. "The ordinary Plowmen and 
Husbandmen do speak elegantly. In their speech 
the people are bold without sheepish shamefacedness, 
and yet no more confident than is becoming," wrote 
the experienced Robert Knox. Their language itself 
teemed with niceties which marked the various 
social distinctions, and the manner in which the 

Hostilities renewed 261 

Portuguese behaved towards a people accustomed to 
sedateness of bearing and formal decorum gave rise 
to a feeling of humiliation which could ill be borne. 
In a word, all that the Portuguese had achieved 
was completely to estrange from themselves all 
classes of the populace. 

Mascarenhas had shortly after the declaration 
of peace been appointed Viceroy, and had accordingly 
returned to India, leaving behind him in Ceylon a 
great reputation not only for wealth, but also for 
skill in poisoning. He was succeeded as General by 
Manuel Mascarenhas Homem, who proved singularly 
incompetent to grapple with the critical situation 
which confronted him. He ignored the certainty of 
the speedy recrudescence of hostilities, and omitted 
to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by 
the peace of making adequate preparations therefor. 
Thus everything was in a condition of neglect when 
in October 1652 two Hollanders arrived to announce 
that war had again been declared. 

On all sides it was realised how utterly unprepared 
the Portuguese were. There were suspicions as to the 
loyalty of the General himself, and ugly stories were in 
circulation to the effect that he had sold to the 
enemy provisions which were meant for the army. The 
popular discontent came to a head when an attempt 
was made to assassinate a leading fidalgo who dared to 
voice it openly, and the soldiers rose in mutiny. 
The General was deposed, three Commissioners were 
placed in charge of the administration, and Caspar 
de Figueira— the one brilliant apology for the system 
of intermarriage, for he was the son of a Sinhalese 
mother by a Portuguese husband— was entrusted 
with the command of the army. His feats alone 
relieve the sombre stoiy of the downfall of the 
Portuguese power in Ceylon. Under Figueira's 
leadership the Hollanders who were guarding the 
road to Negombo were forced back and their garrison 

262 Ceybn and the Portuguese 

of five hundred men at Anguruwatota, which 
controlled the passage down the Kalu Ganga, was 
captured. The Sinhalese who had advanced to the 
support of the Hollanders were repulsed, and their 
main army was driven out of its fortified camp at 
Udapola Kanda, 

Stress of weather had scattered the Hollanders' 
vessels which were continually cruising about the neigh- 
bourhood of Colombo, when on the 10th of May 1653 
there arrived in the Island the aged Francisco, de 
Melo de Castro, once Governor of India, v/ho had 
been persuaded to undertake the thankless task of 
restoring order in Ceylon. In the course of the 
following month Adrian van der Meyden took over 
the control of the interests in the Island of the 
Company. In the meantime the Hollanders' Lascarins 
from Galle were ravaging the Coast right up to the 
neighbourhood of Colombo, destroying the palm 
groves, driving away the fishing population, and 
preventing the collection of cinnamon. A sharp fight 
at Tebuwana on the banks of the Kalu Ganga, 
however, enabled the Portuguese to reoccupy Kalutara, 
and to place an army on the Northern bank of 
the Bentota river. A strong force of the Hollanders 
appeared on the opposite bank, and thus the two 
armies continued to confront each other for five 
months, till the 16th of December 1654, when the 
Hollanders by a skilful manoeuvre succeeded in 
getting across. The Portuguese promptly withdrew, and 
forcing their way through two other bodies which 
had been sent to cut off their retreat, fell back on 
Kalutara. Simultaneously Raja Sinha's army invaded 
the Four and Seven Korales, and drove in the 
Portuguese outposts, but retired on the appearance 
of Figueira, who was living in retirement and was 
hastily summoned to save the situation. 

The following March the Hollanders once more 
appeared before Kalutara. At the same time the 

The Esala Perahma 263 

King came down the Galagedera Pass with a strong 
force, but was repulsed by Figueira after a hotly 
contested fight at Kotikapola, whereupon the 
Hollanders in turn retired. It was clear that the 
critical moment in the long-drawn-out struggle for 
the possession of Ceylon was near at hand, but 
not even the gravity of the military situation availed 
to prevent Raja Sinha from returning to his Capital 
to take part in the celebration of the Esala Perahera, 
the most important of the religious festivals observed 
by the Sinhalese. As the name implies, the main 
feature of the festival consisted of the Perahera or 
processions which were held during the Sinhalese 
month of Esala." 

The legend in which the story of the origin 
of the festival is enshrined takes us back to the 
very dawn of civilisation in the East, to the days 
when the gods walked among the children of men. 
An evil spirit— no doubt some ferocious pirate— is 
said to have haunted the waters of the sea and to 
have levied toll of human lives, seizing men and 
women and taking them on board a vessel where 
it put them to death. Thereupon the gods met in 
conclave to discuss what should be done to relieve 
the sufferings of the world, and with their approval 
the God of War took upon himself the task. 
Rendering himsely incarnate in human flesh, he 
descended to the abodes of men and engaged the 
evil spirit in single combat on board its own vessel; 
after which he cut off the head of his conquered 
foe, and filling his golden pitcher with w^ater rose 
again to heaven and laid the head before 
the assembled gods. Then there was gladness within 
the celestial walls, and the gods danced for joy, 
and Sekraya the great god made order that mortals 
should thenceforth for ever commemorate yearly 
this great deliverance. Thus it came about that 

264 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

year by year, in every Dewale in the Island, the 
New Moon of Esala witnessed the beginning of the 
festival, which lasted for a fortnight. 

Naturally enough it was at the Capital that the 
celebration was carried out with the greatest splendour, 
the four chief Dewales which were situated there 
combining in the event. Day after day for four 
days the mysterious Emblems of the gods were 
borne in solemn procession round their temples. On 
the fifth day the procession emerged from the temple 
precincts and paraded through the four principal 
streets of the city. On the tenth day it was joined 
by the Emblems of the female divinities which were 
carried in palanquins. 

The King himself now supervised the arrange- 
ment of the procession, and all the resources of 
display at his command were drawn upon to render 
due hononr to the gods, "who were regarded by all 
the people as the fountain of prosperity.''^ His finest 
State elephants with their gleaming coverings of cloth 
of gold, his artillery and his men-at-arms, the great 
Officers of State with their banners and trains of 
attendants, all took their part in the ceremonial, 
together with the hundreds of the Dewale retainers, 
whose duty it was to render honour to the gods at 
this high festival. The King himself, surrounded by 
a brilliant throng, joined in the procession, while the 
palanquins of the goddesses were followed by prin- 
cesses and by the noblest ladies of the land. On 
the fifteenth day, when the Moon was full, the 
Festival culminated in an outburst of splendour. At 
midnight offerings of food were made to the gods 
at their temples, and then the procession, with its 
myriad flambeaux and amid the ceaseless din of the 
tom-toms, made its way to the Maha Weli Ganga 
at Gannoruwa. There the four priests with their 
attendants were rowed out into the stream to await 
the rising of the Sun ; and as the first rays of light 

Condition of the Portuguese 265 

flashed from the East, the priests raised aloft their 
golden swords and cleft the water, at the same time 
plunging in the golden pitchers which they held in 
their left hands. The water thus taken was then 
solemnly carried to the temples, whither the proces- 
sion, having at length fulfilled the great god's com- 
mand, finally returned. 

Despite these distractions, guerilla warfare 
continued briskly all along the King's Western fron- 
tier till on the 15th of August 1655 the new General, 
Antonio de Sousa Coutinho, reached Colombo, bringing 
with him funds to pay the soldiers * whose wages 
were eighteen months overdue. On the 15th of 
September the reinforcements long awaited by the 
Hollanders, consisting of 3000 Europeans under the 
command of Geraard Hulft of Amsterdam, once 
Secretary of the City and now Director General 
of India, were sighted off the Western Coast. 

The Fates appeared to have conspired against tlie 
Portuguese. An outbreak of murrain had so reduced the 
number of cattle as seriously to impede the cultiva- 
tion of the rice crops, and the price of food-stuffs 
had risen to an unprecedented figure. Militaiy stores 
of every kind were lacking. The gun carriages were 
old and in dis-repair, and there was no timber avail- 
able for the construction of new ones. There were, 
moreover, no trained artillery men to handle the 150 
heavy pieces on the ramparts. Eight hundred men 
formed the total European force in the Island, and 
of these less than a third were at Colombo, while the 
Lascarins who still remained were few in number 
and of doubtful loyalty. 

The Hollanders in the meantime landed in 
force to the North of Colombo, but the 
drenching showers of the north-east monsoon so 
disheartened the men, whose limbs were stiff after 
their two months' voyage on crowded vessels, that 
they were taken back on board and the fleet sailed 
southwards. Their main body disembarked at JBeni- 


266 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

wala and appeared before Kalutara on the 29th of 
September. Another force landed at Panadura so as 
to cut the line of communications with Colombo ; 
while yet a third watched the Kalu Ganga. On the 
8th of October Figueira, who had been summoned 
in haste from his camp on the Sinhalese frontier, 
reached Colombo, and the arrival of four vessels 
from Goa enabled him to take the field with 600 
Portuguese and his Lascarins. He started for Kalu- 
tara on the sixteenth morning, but was met on the 
road by the news that the fort had fallen two 
days previously. Nevertheless he pushed on and 
the next day met the Hollanders on the sandy plain 
which stretches from Moratuwa to Panadura. The 
Portuguese charged with an impetuosity which nothing 
could resist. The Hollanders, opening their ranks, let 
them pass through, then raked them with a terrific 
fire from their field-pieces. Before long five hundred 
and twenty of the Portuguese lay dead on the field, 
and the remainder were in headlong fight. 


1. Parangi, a syphilitic disease, probably imported from the 
Western Hemisphere. 

2. Ch. 

3. For instance the use of palanquins in Goa had beea the 
subject of special Alvaras from the King in 1602 and 1605, 

A. July-August. 

5. Mahawansa. 

6. So pressed were the authorities at Goa for money, that 
in 1653 they seized a portion of the Trust funds held by 
the Misericordia there, nominally as a loan, in order to pay 
for the expedition which was being prepared for the relief of 


Figueira reached the terrified city the same 
evening with 160 men. The consternation there was 
indescribable, and the streets were filled with 
lamentation and weeping. There was, however, no 
time for vain regrets. The gates were immediately 
closed, and Figueira with desperate energy set 
about strengthening the fortifications, women, children 
and friars all joining in the common task. Everyone 
contributed from his private resources, and Figueira's 
great stores were freely devoted to the need of the 
hour. The bastion of Sao Joao, commanding as it 
did the road from -Mutwal by which the Hollanders 
would approach the fort and forming the protection 
to the draw-bridge across the moat, demanded the 
first attention. A stockade connected it with the 
seashore, and a rampart with the great central 
bastion of Sao Estevao where the moat began. From 
Sao Estevao the rampart continued in a south 
westerly direction past the small bastion of Sao 
Sebastiao to that of Madre de Deos which 
overlooked the lake. These two latter 
guarded the Porta Rainha or Queen's Gate, the 
principal entrance to the city, the only approach 
to which from Sao Sebastiao Hill was by a bridge 
which was broken down. The Rua Direita or 
Straight Road ran from this gateway by way of 
the Assembly Room of the Camara right up to the 
Hospital on the bay, where another road, the Rua 
de Misericordia,' led past that institution to the General's 

The chief defence to the south of fort 
was the crocodile-infested expanse of the lake. The 

The Fort of Colombo 269 

powerful bastions of S. Jeronymo, S. Antonio and 
S. Jago with their rampart and moat protected it on 
the South-west. The last of these three guarded the 
Mapane Gate, which was arched above and mounted 
with guns. A stone breastwork connected S. Jago 
with the lofty rock of S. Augustinho over which 
the flag of Portugal fluttered in the breeze. From 
this point the rough coast ot the Galbokka, running 
northward and skirting the establishment of the 
Franciscans, was sufficiently defended from the sea 
by a line of palisades and a few guns. The hill 
on which the Augustinian Convent stood formed the 
strongest part of the city, and within the convent 
enclosure was the chief powder magazine. The 
Galbokka ended in the historic rock of S. Lourenco, 
which was occupied by a bastion facing westwards 
out to the sea, and by a church dedicated to the 
saint after whom the rock was named; while on 
the extreme point of the reef stood the strong 
bastion of Santa Cruz, the sixteen guns of which 
commanded the entire Bay. From the bastion of 
Santa Cruz the low shore ran south and east till 
it reached the Alphandigo or Customs, where there 
was a bastion of the same name ; east of this again 
was situated the Curaca or breastwork of S. Paolo, 
opposite the important establishment of the Jesuits, 
which in its turn was connected with the bastion 
of S. Joao. Eighteen companies of about twenty five 
men each, with the CasadosS Lascarins and Kaffirs, 
made up the force available for the defence. 

The Hollanders began their attack by construct- 
ing batteries on St. Thomas' hill so as to threaten 
S. Joao, the engineers engaged in the work being 
subjected to constant harassment by the Portuguese 
from sand pits on the shore. A number of these 
'snipers', as they would now be called, were captured, 
and as the Hollanders found their maintenance 
expensive they were after three or four days taken 

270 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

into the jungle and shot in cold blood. Other 
batteries also were begun in the neighbourhood of 
the monastery of Agoa de Lupo, the site of which 
is now known as Wolvendahl, and of that of S. 
Sebastiao, while Hulft himself took up his residence 
in one of the comfortable houses in the hamlet, 
still called after him Hulftsdorp, where the Portuguese 
had been wont to spend the hot weather among 
their shady coconut palms in enjoyment of the cool 
breeze from the sea. 

As ill luck would have it Raja Sinha was for 
the moment detained in his Capital by one of those 
periodical attacks of fever which were the sequel to 
the arduous life of exposure which he had led. He 
sent, however, 1200 of his men to join the Hollanders, 
and a letter in his own hand and dated the 25th 
of October served as further confirmation of his 
anxiety that the task which lay so near his heart 
should at length be carried through to a conclusion. 
At the same time, in spite of his satisfaction at the 
success of the Hollanders, he was not prepared to 
abate one jot of his Royal dignity. Sinhalese etiquette 
demanded that everything meant for the King's use 
should be wrapped in white linen, and Raja Sinha 
took occasion to point out that the last letter which 
he had received had not been so covered, and that 
some of his Royal titles had been omitted— formalities 
which, he said, should not be overlooked even in the 
hurry of war. 

Before October was out the effect of the 
Hollanders' bombardment began to be apparent, for 
the walls were crumbling under the incessant 
cannonade, though all night long the Portuguese toiled 
to make good the damage caused during the day. 
They more than suspected that the first assault 
would be directed against the low wall connecting 
the bastion of S. Sebastiao and that of Madre de 

An Assault 271 

Deos, and they prepared for this by opening two 
portholes low down in the wall, and mounting in 
them two pedreiros, which were kept ready loaded 
with grape. The lake was of great service to the 
besieged, for across it was brought the timber 
required for the works, as well as the tough bark 
of the hibiscus tiliaceus which, growing in abundance 
by the water's edge, was invaluable in place of rope 
and match-cord. 

On the 4th of November one of Raja Sinha's 
courtiers, Tennekon Appuhami, appeared in the 
Hollanders' camp. He was a member of a great 
Low-country family which claimed descent from one of 
the Royal houses of the Choromandel Coast, and which 
had sought refuge among the mountains. Tennekon 
himself rose to be the foremost of Raja Sinha's 
Generals, though in his old age he returned once 
more to the sea coast and settled down in Matara. 
He now brought with him a letter of congratulation 
from the King, who was still very ill, but who sent 
to Hulft a gold pendant studded with precious stones 
as a token of his esteem. 

Hulft now resolved to attempt an assault. 
Before doing so he sent a summons to Coutinho 
"in the name of His Imperial Majesty Raja Sinha 
and that of the Most Noble Dutch East India 
Company" to surrender. The General replied that 
he was accountable to his King for the fort which 
had been entrusted to him, and that he could not 
surrender the place till he had been shown the 
most cogent reasons for so doing. 

Early in the morning of the 12th of December 
four of the Hollanders' vessels sailed across to 
Santa Cruz, while simultaneously three detachments 
of infantry advanced on the Curaca, S. Joao and the 
Porta Rainha, while Raja Sinha's men made a feint 
of attacking the Mapane Gate. Of the four vessels 
the Maid of Enchuysen alone drew close to the 

272 Ceylon and'Jhe^Portuguese 

bastion, against which she maintained a terrific bom- 
bardment. Her fire was, however, repUed to with an 
equal vigour and in a short time all her masts were 
laid low, and so many holes had been made in her 
side that she was abandoned by her crew and sank; 
whereupon her sister ships, which had been content 
to open fire from a distance, sailed away out of 

hi the meantime two hundred men had crossed 
the lake in boats and landed on the eastern side, 
to be greeted with pans of powder from the windows 
of the neighbouring houses and musket shots from 
every point which afforded cover. They pushed on, 
however, till they reached a Lane, where they found 
themselves hemmed in by two bodies of Portuguese 
which appeared at either end. Again and again they 
tried to break through, but were cowed by the fire 
of the bacamartes or blunderbusses, which picked 
them off mercilessly. Two more companies of Portu- 
guese now came on the scene, and opened fire from 
the neighbouring gardens. Further resistance was 
hopeless, and the seventy-four who still survived, and 
who were nearly all wounded, laid down their arms. 

While this was going on van der Laen, who had 
returned to Ceylon after being honourably acquitted 
at Batavia, had crossed the moat with one of the 
detachments of infantry, and had pushed on to the 
Curaca,' which was in a state of disrepair. Ladders 
were hurried up and grenades thrown within the 
walls ; but as the Hollanders dashed up to the forti- 
fications, the Portuguese who had been sweeping the 
shore with their three guns poured into their ranks 
a destructive fire from their matchlocks, so that 
soon both defenders and assailants were completely 
hidden in the smoke, and nothing could be heard 
save the clash of steel on steel and the rattle of the 
musketry. The men at the adjoining station hastened 
to the assistance of their countrymen, and among 

An Assault 273 

the newcomers was to be seen the inspiring presence 
of Figueira, who had been busily employed at Sao 
Joao. The little garrison took fresh heart, the Kaffirs 
with their assegais fighting manfully. The slaughter 
was great and numbers of wounded lay on every 
side. At length, burnt and bleeding, the Hollanders 
drew back, leaving the shore strewn with corpses. 

The attack on the Porta Rainha was comman- 
ded by Hulft in person. In spite of the fire directed 
against them from three bastions his men were 
advancing on the gate, when, to their great conster- 
nation, the two concealed pedreiros opened fire on 
them with grape, mowing down scores. At the same 
time the garrison poured do\\m volley after volley 
from the ramparts on to the confused throng below. 
The Hollanders were so taken aback that the sailors 
refused to move up with the scaling ladders. Hulft 
was filled with rage and despair. Hurrying to the 
front he seized a ladder and called on the rest to 
help him ; but none would stir, and Hulft fell shot 
through the leg. He was hastily dragged out of the 
zone of fire, and without more ado his men turned 
and fled in confusion, while the Lascarins and Kaffirs 
threw themselves from the walls in pursuit and 
drove the Hollanders into their camp. 

Fortunately for the Hollanders the Portuguese 
were too exhausted to follow up their success, or 
the siege would have had to be raised. Even as it 
was the blow was a terrible one to Hulft, for he 
had lost eight hundred in dead alone, and there 
were five hundred wounded. To aggravate his sense 
of failure he received the same evening from the 
King a letter full of the latter's confident hope that 
the Hollander would soon place Colombo in his hands. 
Hulft could only return an apologetic letter informing 
the King of what had happened. Raja Sinha, indig- 
nant that the Hollanders should have attempted a 
task of such magnitude withcxit first consulting the 


274 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

party who would have to pay the cost of it, 
repHed by warning them sharply not to make another 
similar attempt till he was near to assist. For several 
days therefore, they remained in their own lines, 
while the Portuguese were busily engaged in repair- 
ing the damage caused by the bombardment. How- 
ever, some despatches from Goa which fell into the 
hands of the Hollanders revealed the fact that there 
was no fear of reinforcements reaching the garrison 
from that quarter, and once more the work of the 
siege was energetically taken in hand. 

A great crowd of non-combatants had, on the 
approach of the enemy, sought refuge within the 
walls, but so scarce were provisions that on the 12th 
of December a large number of them had to be 
turned out of the fort. The Hollanders, however, 
would not allow them to pass their lines, and the 
miserable wretches were compelled to return. Mean- 
while the Hollanders' batteries had been brought up 
closer and were pounding away at the wall to the 
south of the bastion. On the 10th of January 
1656 the besiegers attempted to fill in the moat near 
S. Joao and to run a gallery across ; but after a 
fight lasting from ten at night until dawn, they were 
compelled to abandon their materials and withdraw. 
They now brought to bear a novel species of projectile 
made of tow and other combustibles and fitted with 
a score or more of small tubes, each carrying two 
bullets. The explosion of these projectiles a short 
distance above the ground led to many deaths, and 
greatly harassed the Portuguese. 

In spite of the desperate resistance of the 
garrison, the Hollanders doggedly continued with their 
plans against S. Joao. The condition of the moat 
favoured the attackers to no small extent ; the pre- 
ceding year had been marked by a prolonged drought 
which had dried up the water and enabled the 
HUanders at last to fill it up in the neighbourhood 

The Siege 275 

of the bastion. Having accomplished this they began 
to mine underneath it and break through the 
foundations of the rampart. To meet the new perU 
the Portuguese began a countermine. With the 
increasing need of timber, however, the difficulty of 
obtaining a supply had also increased, and at last 
the precious coconut trees— the great resource in the 
prevailing lack of food— had to be sacrificed. The 
beams also of the houses destroyed by the Hollander's 
guns were carefully extracted from the ruins and 
used to protect the magazine. 

Death, wounds and sickness had now greatly 
reduced the number of men available, and those who 
had so far survived were worn out with the incessant 
toil and the lack of food. The bastions too were in 
some cases so badly damaged that a horse could easily 
make its way on to the battlements. Meanwhile the 
peril in which the city stood caused every Church 
to be crowded with supplicants. The Host was kept 
exposed at the Convent of the Capuchins, and before 
it women and girls knelt all day long, imploring the 
God in whose name their husbands and brothers 
had for so many years deluged the country with 
mnocent blood to have pity on them. A stone image 
of S. Thomas which had been discovered by the 
Hollanders was shot by them in derision from a 
cannon and fell into the moat, whence the armless 
trunk was recovered by the garrison and removed 
with great reverence to the Jesuit Church. The image 
was however successfully claimed by the Franciscans, 
who conveyed it in solemn procession to their own 
Church, while crowds followed and besought the saint 
to take the city under his protection. 

The ravages of disease steadily increased, and soon 
the task of burying the dead grew beyond the powers of 
the numerous volunteers, so that on every side decom- 
posing bodies polluted the atmosphere. Some of the 
starving inhabitants were successfully smuggled out 

276 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

of the city and across the lake, but in the first 
fortnight of February 620 of them were turned back. 
The garrison, however, v/ould not allow them to 
re-enter the fort, and they were left to die between 
the walls and the Hollanders' camp, their unburied 
corpses providing a ghastly spectacle by the water-side. 
This, however, did not stop the exodus, and Hulft 
decided to adopt more effective measures. He 
accordingly sent a letter to the General warning 
the latter that all refugees would in future be 
severely dealt with. The event showed that he had 
made no idle boast. Men, women and children were 
flogged by the hundred and sent staggering back, 
to perish of starvation under the eyes of their 
countrymen before the walls of Colombo, 

When these measures in their turn proved unavail- 
ing, the Hollanders took to shooting at sight, like the stray 
dogs which prowl round the out skirts of a village, all 
who were seen between their trenches and the town. 
Even this did not suffice, and we must leave it to 
one of the soldiers who took part in these atrocities 
to describe the culminating horror of which the 
fertile imagination of his countrymen was capable: 
"As we had no means of driving them away from 
our camp, we had to strike still greater terror into 
them. Therefore when a woman came and brought 
small children, we forced her to put her child into 
a wooden mortar and to pound it to death with 
the pounder, and then to go away again with the 
dead child.'" 

The Portuguese, however, still hoped for the 
succours from Goa which never came, and no 
thought of surrender had entered their minds. 
Match-cord was exhausted, but the soldiers tore up 
the shirts on their backs to take its place, and 
supplemented them with the shrouds of the Maid of 
Enchuysen soaked in vinegar and wine and daubed 
with gunpowder. No boat could approach with 

Mine and Countermine 277 

provisions from India, for the Hollanders' vessels 
blocked the entrance to the harbour every night, 
and the King's Disawas had constructed a palisade 
from the sea to the lake to prevent the Portuguese 
from breaking through on the side of the Mapane 
Gate. S. Estevao was so battered that it had been 
almost abandoned, and Madre de Deos was a heap 
of rubbish. Near S. Joao a fresh battery had been 
constructed at a distance of only ten paces from 
the moat, while the greater part of the Portuguese 
guns had been put out of action. The prevalent 
desire among the Portuguese was to stake every- 
thing on one last desperate fling, but the General 
still had hopes of relief from Goa, and could not 
be induced to consent. 

On the 21st of March the mine at which the 
Hollanders had been working so doggedly came into 
contact with the tunnel the Portuguese had driven 
to meet it. As the latter passage was much the 
narrower of the two, the Portuguese were able without 
exposing themselves to any extent to inflict great 
losses with their pistols and bacamartes on the 
Hollanders, who came crowding to the defence of 
their own work. By way of reply the Hollanders 
barricaded the passage with stout beams in which 
they bored observation holes, while the Portuguese 
hurriedly buried a large cask of powder in such a 
position that it could easily be exploded by a pistol- 
shot in case of need, and broke down their tunnel, 
leaving only sufficient space for one man to crawl 
through. Volunteers for the task of guarding the 
spot were now called for from among the retired 
Captains, and two by two they took each his turn 
at keeping the dreary watch, in darkness so dense 
that they lost all sense of direction. Throughout 
the siege the weary vigil continued, for the Portu- 
guese were determined to blow up the passage if 
the enemy should attempt an entrance. So great 

278 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

was the strain that in the end, out of the forty 
original volunteers, only three were found to have 
remained faithful to the duty. 

On the 10th of March the General had addressed 
a pitiful letter to Raja Sinha. "The City of Colombo," 
he said, "is an ancient inheritance of the Portuguese, 
bestowed upon them by the Kings and Emperors 
of Ceylon, your predecessors, who always were ready 
to honour them with their protection .... it being 
always the ambition of great Monarchs to take the 
less powerful under their protection." The General 
concluded by hoping that the King "will be pleased 
not to leave us in this extremity." Raja Sinha in 
reply advised Coutinho to surrender, promising that 
the inhabitants should be allowed the possession of 
the lands required for their sustenance. On the same 
day the King sent to Hulft, "the most trusty servant 
that ever he had in his life," his Sannas whereby 
he appointed him Director General over all his 
dominions; for, he said, his services could not be 
requited by the usual presents of raiments and 

The fever and dysentery which had prevailed 
were followed by an epidemic of plague which raged 
with terrible fury during March and April. These 
months form the hot season of the year, and the 
sufferings of the inhabitants were aggravated by the 
drought, for no rain fell during the whole period of 
the siege. At first the corpses were buried piled up in 
shallow graves, the earth over which soon swelled 
out and gaped in the blazing sun; but in a short 
time their number was so great that it was no 
longer possible to bury them, and the bodies lay 
rotting in the public streets. A pound of dog's 
flesh was a rare luxury; fourteen out of the fifteen 
elephants were killed and eaten up to their very 
skins; while cannibalism was of common occurrence. 

Raja Sinha and Hulft 279 

One unhappy mother who had killed the infant at 
her breast for food was blown from the mouth of 
a cannon ; but even this severity proved of no avail 
in stopping the practice, and in April two of the 
miserable wretches who still continued alive between 
the lines were reported to have devoured their newly 
bom babes. 

On the 5th of April Hulft set out for an 
interview with the King, who received him in audi- 
ence at Rakgaha Watta. On entering the hall in which 
the interview was to take place Hulft went down 
on his knees, but a nod from the King gave him 
permission to advance. Moving halfway up the pas- 
sage he again sank on his knees, whereupon the 
King rose up on the dais and commanded him to 
approach yet nearer. Still remaining on his knees 
Hulft delivered a carefully prepared oration to the 
following effect. 

"Most Potent Monarch, Your most humble 
servant approaches Your Imperial Throne with a 
most warm affection and with confidence in your 
generous inclinations and wonted clemency, the which 
have encouraged me to address myself to Your 
Majesty (whose name is renowned throughout the 
world,) with a most sincere wish that God Almighty 
will be pleased to bless Your Most Illustrious Imperial 
Majesty and the Prince." The King thereupon ordered 
Hulft to rise ; but the latter, pretending not to 
understand him, referred to the presents which he 
had brought with him ; which, he said, though of 
little value in themselves, were such as were usually 
received with approval by Kings, being the banners 
of his conquered foes. Then, pointing to the pendant 
he had received from the King and which hung 
about his neck, he approached the throne, and kneeling 
on a cushion kissed Raja Sinha's hand, declaring 
that to be allowed to do so was the greatest honour 

280 Ceyhn and the Portuguese 

he was capable of receiving. The King took a collar 
of gold and placed it round Hulft's neck ; and draw- 
ing off his own ring, the bezel of which covered 
the greater portion of three of his fingers, he com- 
manded Hulft to put out his hand, requesting him 
to wear the jewel in remembrance of the King who 
had ..placed it there, Hulft was overwhelmed at this 
act of condescension, but with ready and courtier- 
like wit put out the broken middle finger of his 
left hand, assuring the King that the finger which 
had been so ill treated by His Majesty's enemies 
was now well recompensed by the honour done to it. 

These compliments over, Hulft proceeded to 
business. He recounted all that he had so far 
accomplished on the King's behalf, and after a fur- 
ther private interview was given permission to 
depart. He reached Colombo the next day and went 
the same evening to inspect some works which had 
been erected in his absence. While he was thus 
engaged the Portuguese made a determined attempt 
to set fire to the gallery of the Hollanders. Hulft 
hurried to the spot and was busily employed in 
helping to extinguish the fire, when he was seen 
suddenly to throw up his arms and to fall to the 
ground, exclaiming "Good God, help me." He was 
hastily carried away covered with blood and laid on 
a bed, where he expired without further word, for 
he had been shot through the heart with a musket 

Immediate information of this terrible disaster 
was sent to Raja Sinha. His grief was no less 
intense than that of the Hollanders, and he sent his 
chief Minister and his Disawas to view the body 
before it was removed to Galle for interment. On 
being led to the spot where Hulft had fallen they 
made a profound obeisance, and solemnly taking up 
a handful of earth gave instructions that thereafter 
no man should be permitted to set foot on that 

Raja Sinhas Distress 281 

hallowed soil. The whole Court went into mourning; 
the silver drapery in the Royal quarters was repla- 
ced by black cloth; and so great was the King's 
distress -for he appears to have conceived a real 
affection for Hulft, as the only Hollander in whom 
he could repose confidence— that for three days he 
would see no one. 

Hulft was succeeded in his command by Van 
der Meyden, and the siege continued. In spite of 
the misery prevailing in the city the Portuguese, 
with a gallantry and a courage which must ever be 
a subject for marvel, met every attempt of the 
Hollanders by some desperate counter-move. The 
wall between S. Sebastiao and Madre de Deos had 
been so battered down, that the cannon balls of the 
Hollanders swept the streets freely and the Rua 
Direita had to barricaded with palm trees. All the 
sappers were dead, and to replace them recourse had 
to be had to the male and female slaves who were 
allotted, to enable them to keep body and soul together 
a few weeks longer, the pittance of a quarter 
of a medida * of rice each day. Coutinho however, 
sturdily refused in any way to alter his previous 
resolution, "which" he said, "is to take care of and 
to defend the city to the utmost of my power in 
the service of the King my Master." 

Every day it was becoming increasingly clear that 
an assault could no longer be delayed, and with this Raja 
Sinha's eagerness to visit the camp increased propor- 
tionately, to the discomfort of the Hollanders. Van der 
Meyden's hints brought on him a sharp retort from the 
King : "You are of opinion that it would be more 
convenient for me not to come to the camp till after 
the taking of the city : but what business should I 
have in the camp then unless it were to see that the 
conditions were performed ? " However he finally gave a 


282 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

reluctant consent to an assault being delivered if 
necessary in his absence, for he was still suffering 
from attacks of fever. On the 6th of May a deserter 
informed the Hollanders that the guns had been 
largely removed to the streets, which had been 
barricaded, and that the next morning there would 
be only a handful of men on the walls. It was 
accordingly decided to make an assault without fur- 
ther delay. 

A chilling shower heralded the dawn of the 
7th of May. The weary company of soldiers and 
citizens who had watched through the night had gone 
to Church to attend Mass before returning home for 
a little rest. Three Portuguese, two of them boys 
under fourteen whom the struggle for lifehad armed 
with muskets, with a number of Lascarins, were 
on the crumbling bastion of S. Joao. The boys and 
about eight of the Lascarins lay buried in slumber, 
as three companies of Hollanders carrying scaling 
ladders crept quietly up to the wall. One volley killed 
all those on the bastion, and then the alarm-bells 
rang out. The Hollanders swarmed up the battered 
walls with ease, and despite a handful of Portuguese 
who opened fire with two guns, pushed steadily on, 
while the Sinhalese who had come up to their sup- 
port poured in a cloud of arrows. The fight was 
too unequal and the Portuguese fell back step by 
step, disputing each yard of ground, into the barrica- 
ded street, where they were joined by a small band 
of soldiers. Throwing away their arquebusses after 
the first volley, the Portuguese charged sword in 
hand with reckless courage and forced the Hollanders 
back three times to the bastion. The Hollanders, 
however, were there in overwhelming numbers and 
the Portuguese had to desist from the attempt to 
reoccupy it, though their opponents who had lost 
five of their banners dared not venture out again 
in the open. 

The Last Assault 283 

The latter indeed soon found that the bastion 
was no safe position for them, for they were 
exposed to an annihilating fire from Santa Cruz and 
from the Curaca. Meanwhile the Portuguese outside 
had been joined by the General Coutinho, and so 
greatly did his presence encourage them that once 
again they dashed at the bastion. The handful of 
soldiers who were watching this exploit from the 
Curaca were so carried away by the audacity [; of the 
attempt, that headed by the aged Francisco de Melo 
de Castro, the late General, who was now past eighty 
years of age, they poured out into the street shout- 
ing "Victoiy" and urging everyone to join in the 
attack. De Castro had to be dragged back forcibly, 
while once more the Portuguese, despite their gallant 
endeavours, were obliged to retire. 

Another body now attacked the wood- 
work of the stockade behind S. Joao, which 
was held by several hundred Hollanders, and 
succeeded in firing a mine, the explosion hurling 
Hollanders and Sinhalese alike to destruction. 
Then, sword in hand, they drove the Hollanders within 
the bastion, and pressed on behind them to the 
gate. This they battered down without difl[iculty and 
a dozen of them entered. Inside the bastion the 
scene was an amazing one. The Hollanders, crowded 
together in the limited space, were obliged to be 
cautious in discharging their firearms, while the 
Portuguese were able to lay about them freely with 
their swords. Bottles filled with gunpowder were 
flung into the crowd, till an open barrel caught fire 
and burnt the Portuguese so severely that they could 
no longer continue the fight. Once again they had 
to give way, nearly every one of them being wounded 
or burnt, and some of them having as many as five 
bullet wounds. 

It was seven o'clock at night when the fighting 
at length stopped. The starved and wounded handful 
had kept up the astonishing struggle for nearly twelve 

284 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

hours aud one hundred and twenty of them were 
either killed, wounded or seriously burnt. If the 
darkness, however, was welcome to them, it was no 
less welcome to the Hollanders, who had lost so 
heavily that only 1287 Europeans remained fit for 
service. The night was spent by the besiegers in 
erecting defences of timber and in turning the guns 
abandoned by the Portuguese on to the city. By 
morning they commanded with their fire the Curaca, 
where the remnants of the garrison were now con- 
centrated. Two days later the Council met; they 
recognised that the condition of affairs was hopeless, 
and resolved to make a cautious attempt to obtain 
favourable terms from the enemy. The next day 
the white flag was hoisted, and three envoys were 
sent across to the Hollanders' camp. The proposals 
of the Council were returned the next day with the 
counter-proposals of the Hollanders, and these latter 
were in the end agreed to. 

In accordance with them the city was to 
be surrendered the next morning, the soldiers 
of the garrison marching out of the fort with all 
the honours of war. Special provision was made 
with regard to the Clergy, the Generals and 
the chief officers ; the Casados, together with the 
minor officers and merchants, were to be transported 
to the Choromandel Coast with as much property 
as their slaves could carry. Such of the Portuguese 
as should be willing to acknowledge the supremacy 
of the Hollanders were to be well treated and to 
be allowed to retain their property. The natives 
were to be dealt with at the discretion of the General, 
though a special condition was inserted that the 
Mudaliyars, Arachchis and Lascarins were to be treated 
with favour. The Hollanders further undertook the 
care of the sick and wounded, and it was agreed 
that any Portuguese vessel arriving up to the 30th 
of May should be allowed to sail away unmolested 
till out of sight. 

The Surrender 285 

The Terms of Capitulation were signed on the 
12th of May, and at mid-day two Hollanders were 
sent into the city to receive the keys, and to take 
an account of the provisions and arms. At three 
o'clock the same afternoon the Hollanders together 
with Raja Sinha's troops were drawn up outside the 
fort to receive the Portuguese garrison. The gates 
were flung open, and with colours flying and drums 
beating there marched out the men to bring whom 
to the point of surrender had cost seven months of 
arduous toil and so much blood and treasure. First 
there staggered forth seventy-three living skeletons, 
not a few of them moving painfully with the aid 
of a crutch or supporting themselves with a stick 
grasped in the one hand which was left. Four can- 
non accompanied them as far as the gate, but they 
had not the strength to drag them further. A short 
distance behind came about a hundred Casados and 
other inhabitants of the city, all in similar plight. 
It was some time indeed before the Hollanders could 
believe that this was the garrison which had forced 
such favourable terms from them. The pitiable hand- 
ful of men passed on to Van der Meyden's head- 
quarters, where they surrendered their arms, after 
which they were conducted to a walled garden which 
had been selected for their occupation. 

The Hollanders now entered the fort in triimiph. 
Van der Meyden and his staff proceeded straight to 
the Curaca where the two Portuguese Generals, hag- 
gard and wild-eyed with the sufferings they had so 
unflinchingly borne, came out to receive them. Sen- 
tries were posted round the city, the Lascarins were 
disarmed, and the entrances to the mines placed 
under guard. Six musty loads of rice were all the 
provisions to be found in the stores, and the quan- 
tity of gunpowder remaining was but 6500 pounds, 
together with a little saltpetre and brimstone. In 
the treasury there were left onlv 1500 coins. A 

2d6 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

service of thanksgiving at the Church of S. Francisco, 
before the tomb of the hapless Dharmapala, celebra- 
ted the transfer of his ill-used heritage to the Hol- 
landers, and within two days six of their vessels 
had set sail with the majority of the Portuguese, 
whose daughters however were kept behind as wives 
for their captors. 

The latter now began to put off all pretence 
and to show their hand openly. When Raja Sinha's 
troops attempted to enter the fort they were forcibly 
prevented from so doing, and only a few officers of 
high rank were admitted. Raja Sinha himself had 
not even been kept fully informed of what was 
toward. At three o'clock on the morning of the 11th 
of May a letter had been despatched to him by his 
Disawas at Colombo to inform him of the arrival 
of Plenipotentiaries, but the rumour that the terms 
had been settled was so persistent that he sent an 
urgent message demanding an explanation. Van der 
Meyden replied by sending him a copy of the 

For five and twenty years Raja Sinha had 
toiled laboriously and incessantly to drive the Portu- 
guese out of Colombo. "When our Imperial Self 
summoned you to this our Empire," he wrote to 
the Hollanders, "the principal cause was that you 
might help us, and more especially to capture the 
city of Colombo. Ever since that the most serene 
and famous Raju, King of Ceitavaca, laid it several 
times under siege and could not take it, for this 
reason we took into our Imperial heart to capture 
it." He had been passionately set on winning for 
himself the honour which his deified namesake had 
failed to achieve, and now, at what had seemed the 
moment when his long-cherished hope was to be 
realised, he found that he had been over-reached by 
the cunning of a trading company. No Attic poet 
could have conceived a more poignant tragedy. 

Raja Sinha Disilhmoned 287 

He fiercely demanded why he had not been 
consulted before the terms were agreed on, and he found 
a chilling answer in the tenth Clause of the Capitula- 
tions, whereby the Hollanders undertook to treat the 
Mudaliyars, whom by the terms of their agreement 
with Raja Sinha they were bound to hand over to 
him as traitors, with favour. ''When our Imperial 
self heard this," he wrote in the bitterness of his 
soul, "We had no desire to know more respecting 
the other points, inasmuch as we did not bring the 
Hollanders to this our Empire, nor did we labour 
up till now, that they should act thus towards us." 

A tew days later the Sinhalese forces with- 
drew back from Colombo, and intercourse with the 
Hollanders totally ceased. The inhabitants of the 
villages in the neighbourhood of the city were removed 
to a distance, and trade with the foreigners was 
forbidden. The effect was speedily felt and the 
Hollanders were brought to the verge of famine. 
Disease too broke out, and twenty and thirty died 
each day. Many of the Portuguese who still remained 
in the island, as well as of the Lascarins who were 
with the Hollanders, deserted to Raja Sinha. Figueira 
was still in Colombo, and the King, who had a 
chivalrous admiration for a gallant foeman, sent him 
a tempting invitation to join his standard ; but the 
Hollanders, who had a bitter experience of the prowess 
of the erstwhile leader, hurried him over to India. *. 

Meanwhile the Hollanders were rapidly strength- 
ening the defences of the city, abandoning two- 
thirds of it, and concentrating the fortifications round 
the high ground where the Augustinian Convent was 
situated. During the progress of the work an angry 
correspondence was carried on with the King, who 
replied with impatience to the evasive letters of the 
Hollanders. "Write" he said, "these rigmaroles to 
whomsoever it may seem well to you to write them, 
but not to our Imperial self." His Disawas now 
began to appear to the South of Colombo. 

288 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

There was unrest all along the coast, and the 
peeling of cinnamon was seriously hampered. Mat- 
ters reached such a stage that before long the 
Hollanders were glad to send a submissive letter to 
Raja Sinha begging for a restoration of the former 
amicable relations and offering to restore Negombo 
to him. Van der Meydenf urthermore entreated him 
to let them know what other satisfaction he required 
at their hands, declaring that they would gladly 
render it to him. Raja Sinha's only reply was the 
curt message "Propound me no riddles", while his 
troops attacked the Company's outposts. 

"If you will not understand," he wrote to Van 
der Meyden on the 23rd of October 1656, "God will find a 
remedy. You state in your letter that the Governor- 
General of Batavia will be displeased. If the Governor- 
General and the Company are persons who keep their word 
they will have reason to be displeased ; and if things 
go on after this manner, there will follow more and 
more sorrows." His frank avowal that the Portu- 
guese, who were known to be making active prepa- 
rations to win back what they had lost, were anxi- 
ous for his friendship, was a source of great anxiety 
to the Hollanders. At length, however, they ventured 
to come outside the city and attacked the Sinhalese 
forces, whereupon Raja Sinha withdrew to Ruwanella. 
From there he watched with gloomy rage the last 
phase of the struggle between them and the Portu- 

In January 1657 the Portuguese fleet sailed out 
of the harbour of Goa, but was encountered by the 
Hollanders and three severe engagements followed. 
Early in the following year, 1658, a powerful Dutch 
armada under the command of Ryckloff Van Goens 
appeared before Tuticorin and reduced the Portu- 
guese settlements of the Fishery Coast. A few weeks 
later three thousand Europeans with a force of 
Bandanese and Sinhalese from Colombo landed in 

Surrender of Jafina 289 

Manar ; after a slight resistance the bulk of the 
Portuguese, crossing over to the mainland, fled in 
panic-stricken confusion to Jaffna, and on the 22nd 
of February the fort of Manar surrendered. The 
Hollanders thereupon crossed to Mantota and began 
their advance on Jaffna, being allowed to reach 
Chundikuli, two miles from the fort of Our Lady 
of Miracles, unopposed. 

A few stockades now blocked the road, and 
served to delay for a few days the further 
approach of the invaders, while the terrified 
inhabitants crowded within the walls of the fort. On 
the 2()th of March the attack began, the Hollanders 
breaking up the tombstones in the cemeteries, and 
firing the pieces from mortars into the fort. The 
Portuguese however held out grimly, though famine 
was hovering very near ; for the only food that 
remained was a small quantity of spoilt rice, while 
the supply of salt too was nearly exhausted. To 
intensify the horror of the siege, plague broke out 
and wrought havoc among the crowded refugees. 
Yet though the parapets and walls, which were of 
soft coral stone, were visibly crumbling before, the 
fire from the batteries, the Hollanders after their 
experience at Colombo dared not attempt an assault. 
Three months passed and the store of powder was 
well-nigh spent ; the water in the wells, contamin- 
ated by the putrefying corpses, had become a source 
of infection, and not even enough arrack to dress 
a wound could be procured. It was realised that 
further resistance was impossible, and on the 22nd 
of June the fort surrendered. The Hollanders were 
not inclined to be merciful in their triumph, and 
though the garrison was allowed the honours of war, 
all the property of the Portuguese and their adherents 
was confiscated. 

On the 22nd of June the garrison, including 
the brave Figueira, who had once more returned to 


290 Ceylon and the Portuguese 

his country to draw his sword against the hated 
Protestant, began to March out of the citadel. Three 
days were spent in the evacuation, women and 
men alike irrespective of age and rank being stripped 
and subjected to a minute and degrading scrutiny, 
to prevent the concealment of any valuables about 
their persons. The place was then methodically sacked 
and thoroughly cleansed so as to render it once 
more habitable; while with characteristic foresight 
the Hollanders proceeded to plant the space within 
the walls with three Irundred coconut trees. 

On the 23rd of June 1658 the army assembled 
within the church of Our Lady of Miracles ; and 
where the triumphant strains of the Te Deuni 
had so often celebrated the victories of de Oliveira, there 
rose the deej) guttural voices of the Hollanders, 
i-endering thanks to Almighty God that at length 
this blood-stained country was entirely rid ot the 



1, This charitable organisation was considered a branch of 
the Misericordia at Goa. regarding which soc .Seuhor M at- 
tin's f^xhaustive work, Historia da Misericordia de Goa. 

i All Portuguese leaving for the East were either Casados. 
man ied men. who could not be compelled to go to the wars 
save in very exceptional circumstances, or Soidados, though 
the latter term dirt not imply that Ihey were engaged as 

3. Johan Jacob Saar, 

4. A Portuguese measure equal to about a quart. 

5. Huratala— The Little Pet- the great decoy elephant whose 
dexterity was estimated to have yielded the Portuguese 50,OUO 
patacas a year, and who alone out of a herd of fifteen had 
escaped uneaten during th« siege ,was another object, of the 
King's desire ; but the Hollanders would not part with him 
and he lived to see the Standard of Kngland float where so 
many Portuguese had shed their blood, 


Abhaya Giri 8, 9, 10, 198. 

Abhaya Wewa 3. 

Achem 100, 154. 

Adam's Bridge 57. 

Adam's Peak, See Sri Pada. 

Africa 188 

Aga Raja 213. 

^lciir*6SS3 244 

Alagiyawanna 96, 97, 98, 174, 205! 

Alakeswara Mantri 19. 

Albergaria, Lopo Soarez de 33, 71. 

Alboquerque, Aftonco de 32, 33. 

115, 127. 

Matthias de 91. 

Jorge de 209, 

Alcacer Quebir 91, 92. 

Alexander the Great 95. 

Alexander the vi 36, 127, 

All Ibrahim 47, 48. 

Aljofar 34. 

Almeida, Francisco de 22, 25. 

Lourenco de 23, 24, 31, 32, 173, 

Jorge de 218. 

Alu Vihare 8. 

Amant .Walraven de St, 234, 237. 

Ambalam 193. 

America 220, 

Anda Gala 74. 

Andrade, Nuno Freyre de 47, 

Angel 207. 

Anguruwa Tola 262. 

Antahpuraya 44. 

Antao, Dom 139. 

Antonio, Convent'of St, 65, 

Arachchi 37, 90, 178, 284. 

Areca 186. 198, 259' 

Aritta Kivendu Perumal 130, 114. 

Armour 195. 

Arrack 161, 224. 

Art 110, 182. 

Arya Chakrawarti 19. 

Asgiriya 164. 

Asoka 3. 

Assegai 273. 

Astana Bandara 164, 192. 

Astrology 45. 

Atapattu 37, 152, 215. 

Attana Gala 10, 143, 200. 

Attapitiya 157. 

Aturugiri Korale 84. 

Augustinian 168,176, 

Augustus 2. 

Auto da Fe 57. 

Avatar 89. 

Aveiras, Conde de 238. 

Azavedo, Dom Jeronymo de 

126-140, 143, 146-148. 

156, 130, 165, 168, 169, 

174, 175, 186, 191, 205, 

209, 255. 

Badulla 212, 215, 250. 

Bahadur Shah 49. 

Bahar 29, 34. 

Balane 121, 143, 146, 

148, 156, 157, 

171, 192 201, 

204. 222. 

Bandanese 288. 

Bangasalai 30. 

Bantam 149. 

Barcelos, Antonio de 65. 

Barrete 152. 

Barretto, Antonio Moniz 62, 64. 

Francisco 75. 

Anthony 159, 201-207. 

Batalagala 157. 

Batavia 220, 239. 241, 249. 

Batticaloa 160, 162, 212, 219, 

227, 235, 241. 



26. 89, 265. 

68. 98. 176. 

19. 43, 46. 

49, 51-55. 58, 

62, 65, 70, 76, 


99, 100. 

3. 199. 

See palm leaf 

Marcellus de 171. 

197, 206, 207, 

Botado, Damiao 222. 

Bowl 4, 9, 17. 

Braganza, Dom ConbLantino de 

86, 116, 200. 

Duke of 243. 

Brazil 238. 

Britain 43. 

Bhairawa Kovil 
Bhuwaneka Bahu 








Brito, Lopo de 36, 46, 

Joao Corea de 93, 102, 105, 

Buddassa Goda 157. 

Buddha 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 

12, 13, 17, 23, 57, 

65, 70, 78, 80, 94, 95, 

96. 141, 160. 176, 177. 

Buddhadassa 96, 231. 

Buddha Gosha 11, 

Bujas Raja 11. 

Burmah 11. 

Bussorah 22. 

Cabaya 52. 

Cabook 26, 88. 

Cadjan 195. 

Caen, Antonio 230. 

Caesar, Julius 43. 

Cairo 22. 

Calicut 47. 

Cambodia 17, 

Canarese 19, 218. 222, 223, 234, 

Cannibal 217, 218. 

Cannon See Fire Arms, 

Cape 22, 33, 117. 

Capital Punishment 9. 

Carave! 192. 

Carron, Francois 244. 

Carthage 121, 

Casado 205. 269, 284, 285. 

Caste 38, 81, 145, 

179, 180, 256-258, 

Castro, Dom Joao de ■ 58. 

Dom Affonco 168, 169. 

Francisco de Melo de 262, 

283 285 

Catherina, Dona 77, 116. 12i-125.' 

151, 162. 170, 192, 

Cave 8. 

Ceylon 1, 2, 3, 13, 20. 24, 26. 

27, 36, 117, 128, 139, 140. 145 

150. 153. 195196, 251-261. 

Chaga Raja 56, 57. 

Chaliya 29, 259. 

Chandala 3. 

Chank 46. 

Chankili 206. 

Charaka 231. 

Chatra 7, 28. 46. 

Chilaw 5, 89, 146, 166. 

China 11, 110, 166. 

Chivalry, Order of 128, 

Choliyan 14, 15, 18, 

Clioromandel 6, 

Christian, King 206, 

Christianity 36, 57, 58, 62, 

69, 77, 78, 80, 

85, 143, 167, 

188, 240. 1 






29, 34, 57, 150, 

154, 171. 183, 184. 

193, 197, 204, 228. 



166, 191, 203. 


32, 39. 106. 167. 

177, 185. 


24. 39. 195, 198, 

201, 290. 


18, 235, 236, 


5, 23, 24, 26, 32. 

34, 36, 39. 46, 

71, 87, 91, 93. 102- 

112. 160. 163. 167. 

169, 170. 176, 197, 207, 209. 

217, 218 

, 234. 268-285, 287. 

Colombo Nainde 




Conde, Joao de 

Villa de 54,57, 

64. 75. 

Consciencia. Mesa de 177. 

Conquistador, see Sousa, Azavado, 

Convention hU). 

Copra See Coconut. 

Correa, Domingos 127-134, 143. 


Simao 142, 143, 144, 169, 181. 

Cosme. Dom 215, 

Coster, Wilhelm Jacobsz, 221, 

227, 228, 233-237, 241. 

Cotrim, Fernao, 25. 

Coutinlio. Antonio de Souza, 265, 

281,283, 285, 



Cunhale Marikar. 

Danta Datu 

Danta Pura 


Dapula II 

Deduru Oya 






Devaraja Sinha 




Dewana Gala 


5, 7, 114, 187. 

48, 51. 55, 134. 


See Buddha 

199, 20L 



17, 19, 26, 73. 

74, 86, 142, 203. 





76, 142. 

103, 111. 

206, 209, 220. 






90, 109, 153, 264. 




Dharma See Buddha. 

Dharmadwaji Pandita, 97. 

Dharmapala 51-54, 67, 71, 

77. 80. 84, 89, 90, 
91, 93. 114, 115, 
126, 129-137, 177, 
197, 254, 255. 286. 

Dbatu Sena 11. 

Dias, Manuel 147, 149. 

Diemen, Antonio Van. 228. 

Dighajantu 7. 

Disawani 84, 140, 180. 196, 235, 
253, 286, 287. 



Diyawanna Oya 





168, 176. 



2, 13. 

Dress 27 

, 28, 151, 152. 180. 








See Gamani 



Eca, Duarte de 


Edirille Rala 

See Corea 

Edirimana Suriy 

a Raja 73. 


13, 15, 79. 


22, 32. 




25, 30, 34, 56, 

85, 108, 145, 148, 

185. 204, 219, 222. 




26.3, 264. 

Etgala Tota 

144, 146. 

Etu Gala 



31, 32, 46, 182. 

Fa Hian 



95. 114. 

Fatalidade Histoiica 238, 

Ferreira, AntaoVaz 174176,197. 
Ferreyra, Miguel 29. 49-51. 

Fen7 198. 

Figueira. Caspar de 261-263, 

266. 268. 287, 289. 
Firearms 34, 56, 71, 99, 182, 

196. 216. 
F<xKl 150, 151. 

Four Korales 73, 140, 143, 239, 

Franciscan 54, 76, 78, 167-173 

— 177, 219, 254. 
Freitas, Ambrosio de 210. 

French, 220. 

G abadagama 177>179] 

Gaja Banu 9 

Gaja Nayaka Nilame 31. 

Galagedera Pass 263. 

Galbokka 24. 

Galle 23, 109, 126. 160, 162, 

163,1166, 167. 170, 201, 

233, 239. 243, 244. 

Gaina, Vasco da, 22, 47. 80. 

Gamani 6, 7, 231. 

Gandolaha 199. 

Ganegoda Deviyo 114. 

Ganetenna 146, 156, 158. 

Gannoruwa 223, 230, 264. 

Gaunt, John of 22. 

Gautama See Buddha 

Gems 16, 68. 136, 171, 185. 

Getahetta Ela 63. 

Giedde, Ove 206. 

Goa 32, 48, 51, 55, 

75, 168, 220, 237, 244. 

Goens, Rickloff Van 288. 

Goigama 45, 

Gomes, Manuel 146. 

Gotabaya lol 

Guzarat 49] 

Gunpowder 2 10.' 

Gurubewila 115, 130, 158'. 

Handuru igo. 

Henrique, Dom 77, 91, 92.* 

Henry the Navigator, Prince 22! 

Hewagama 85 

Hewayo 50] 

Hikkaduwa 109^ 

Hiripitiya 7g_* 

Hollander 117, 149, k^^ 

163, 165, 167, 

171, 206. 220, 


Homeni, Manuel Mascarenhaa 192, 

195, 26l! 

Hulft, Geraard. 26.5, 281. 

Hypatia ' 70' 

Hypnotism 232 

Ibn Batuta hq 

Iddamalpane 143] 

Idelgashinna 142 239. 

lUarigakon 46* 115 " 

India. 1, 2. 12. 13,' 153^ 

Intermarriage 234, 200, 261, 286 

Inquisition 56. 144, 211 

Isparam 39" 

Ivory 182, 211] 

Jaffna Pat am 19. 20, 55,56* 

57, 59. 74. 75, 

86. 113, 142. 

166, 200, 206. 

289, 290- 

Jak 194. 

iJama Smha 93^ 112. 



Japan 117, 251. 

Jaya Sinha 20. 

Jayawardhana Kotte See Kotte 
Jayawira See Aritta 

Jesuit 56, 122, 168, 174, 

176, 185, 220. 254. 
Jeta Tissa 11. 

Jeta Wanarama 10. 

Jingal 224. 

Joao, Dom III 45, 51, 56, 77, 78. 
Dom IV 112, 164,243. 

Periya Bandara See Dharmapala. 



Kal Eliya 
Kalu Ganga 

9, 13, 15, 187, 193 

253, 255, 260' 

84. 86, 99, 115, 218' 

100. 160, 218, 222" 

223, 234, 269, 273' 

11, 19' 


10, 18- 

74, 254- 

5, 72, 262, 266- 

72, 89, 133, 262, 266. 

Kanda Uda Rata 20, 32, 45, 46. 

55, 63, 73, 92, 

95, 112, 113, 140. 

146, 160, 164, 166, 

199, 213. 
Kandy See Senkadagala 

Karalliyadda 73. 87, 92, 116. 

Kasyapa 11, 12. 

Katuwana , 142. 

Kaviyasekara See Rahula 

Kawan Tissa 6. 

Kelani Ganga 16, 65, 67, 78, 

85, 89, 99, 111, 113. 
130, 140, 159, 245. 
Keragala 80. 

Kikili Bittera Wella 113. 

Kirawella 11, 43. 

Kirimune 74. 

Kiri Wat Talawa 223 

Kit Siri Mewan 10. 

Knox. Robert 128, 161, 179, 260. 
Kolon Tota See Colombo. 

Konappu 93, 112, 116, 122-125, 

127, 132, 141, 142, 

147, 151. 152, 164. 
Konesar Malai 209. 
Korale Vidane 187. 
Koratota 84,85, 
Kosgoda 109. 
Kotikapoia 263. 
Kotte 19, 25, 28, 43, 47, 

4b. 69, 71, 74, 84 

87, 88, 91, 114, 

115, 140, 256. 

Kottiyar 171. 235. 

Kulasekera i$. 

Kumaradas 12, 96* 

Kumara Sinha 213, 214, 230, 

Kuppayama 145. 

Kurunegala 73, 

Kusa Jatakaya 175. 

Kusinara 1. 

Laen, Vander 244, 272. 

Lascarin 178, 199. 201, 216. 

235. 260, 269, 273, 
Laval, Pyrard de 170. 

Leach 72, 213. 

Lingam 89. 

Linhares. Conde de 214, 219. 

Linschoten, John Huyghen Van 


Lion 1. 28, 44, 84, 141.' 

Lisbon 141. 

Literature 96-98. 

Lourenco. Sao 31, 71. 

Lowa Maha Paya 7, 10, 198. 

Loyala, Ignatius of 56, 

Lucaszoon., Philip 231-233, 241. 

Maatsuycker 249. 

Madampe 109. 

Madura 2, 13. 

Maha Astana See Raja Sinha. 

Biso Bandara 212. 

Mudaliyar 148* 

Nama 11. 

Name 96.» 

Oya 144, 146, 199,' 

200, 201. 

Sena 10. 

Wansa 11, 96, 113. 

Weli Ganga 5, 122, 149, 

171, 264. 

Mahindo IV ' 13.' 

Mahiyangana 212. 

Makara 28. 

Malabar 19, 46. 

Malacca 32, 100, 169, 238. 

Maldives 23. 

Maligawa 11, 26. 45. 76, 

78. 142. 

Malwana 115, 140, 143, 159, 

188. 193, 240, 255. 

Manabarana 17. 

Manar 57, 94, 112, 123, 

167, 185, 289, 

Manuel, King 22, 32, 127. 

Mapane 90. 

Marala 186, 187, 253. 

Marriage 42, 103, 127. 

Mascarenhas, Dom Pedro 71. 

Dom Antonio 230, 237, 

238 244. 

Dora Philip 238-243) 26l! 


Masulipatam 237. 

Matale 213. 221, 241. 

Matara 84, 109, 110. 

115, 140, 141. 

142, 198, 203. 


151, 152, 171 

42-45, 48, 49, 

52, 55, 62-69, 

71-73, 84, 86. 

89-91, 204-209, 

5, 20, 140 


231, 232. 

Diogo de 


de Castro 219-225, 255. 

Mendoca, Andre Furtado de, 113- 

Meneses, Baroche, Dom Jorge de, 

84, 85. 

Dom Francisco 191. 

Menikkadawara 114, 121, 129, 144, 

212, 218, 230. 

Mestico 234. 

Metchnikoff, Elie 151. 

Metiyagane 199. 

Meyden, Adrian Vander 262, 282- 


Maurice, Prince 

Maya Rata 



Melo, Coutinho, 

Migamuwe Rala 















Moro, Aphonso 






113, 235. 

9, 289. 290. 


31. 98. 186 


22, 24, 26, 32, 

33, 89, 91. 187. 

191, 210, 212. 

175, 253, 256. 


See Mohammedan. 



143, 144. 

38, 50, 64, 188, 











214, 238, 237, 284. 



84, 85. 

89, 168, 175. 


7. 99, 153, 250. 

209, 221 


89, 99, 200. 


Nair 43. 

Nallur 56.57,75,113. 

Natagane 73, 74. 

Navagomuwa 90. 

Navaratna, Dom Constantino. 

169. 199, 252. 
Navgala 157. 

Neduntivo .56. 

Negunibo 89, 146, 172, 

231. 237, 238. 

244, 245. 247, 
Nekatiya 45, 

Nestorian 159. 

New Year 202. 

Nikapitiya 114, 115. 198, 204. 

Nikitin 73. 

Nilgala 237. 

Nindagama 128, 178. 

Noronha, Dom Gracia de 49. 

Dom Affonso de 64, 67-70. 

Oath 188. 

Oil 187. 

Oliveira, Philip de 200, 205, 206. 

Opium 159, 166, 191. 

Orange, Prince of 235. 

Ordeal igg 
Ormuz 24, 30, 32, 70, 22o! 

Orta, Gracia de 232. 

Ouvidor 253. 


Pachchi Marikar 





Palm leaf 







Parakrama Bahu 



Para Rnja Sinha 




Pasdum Korale 



47, 49. 




4, 8. 11, 96. 

18, 123, 128, 200. 



2, 13, 18, 19. 


247, 248. 

See Buddha. 

. The Great 

15, 18. 96. 

19, 96. 



20, 24, 28, 29, 

32, 34, 36. 

25, 223, 252. 

46, 48. 

57. 185. 

64. 67, 68, 69. 



54, 57. 171. 185. 

15, 17. 86, 141. 


I'clentia 72. 

Peien Gaiiga 72, 

Pepper 30. }85, 191, 228, 235. 

Perahera 263, 1 64. 

Pereira, Dom Nuno Alvarez, 197. 
Pel era. Dona, Maria 143. 

Affonso 84. 

Pedro Komeni 114, 125. 

Persian Gulf 

22, 24, 34, 220. 






I 92, 93, 137, 149, 

11 164, 170, 177, 

193, 204, 207. 

Ill 219, 238 

See Jama Sinha. 


See Rata. 

Pinhao, Simaol' 

i2-148, 157, 158,169. 






90, 130. 

Polo, Marco 



13, 17. 






11, 20, 23, 25. 

29, 31, 32, 46. 

58. 65, 67, 80. 

92,94, 112, 113. 

116, 117, 126. 

128, 159. 160 

165, 170, 191' 

192, 193. 201' 

205, 219-2,21' 

237, 243, 251' 

261, 265- 








221, 222- 




144, 146- 



Uahula, Sri 

23, 26, 95, 97, 



37, 202. 



Raja Sinha 

72, 73, 84-87, 91. 

93, 94, 97-114. 

141, 143, 174, 

242, 286, 

Of Senkadagala, 212, 

218, 221, 225, 227. 

234-236, 241-251, 

262, 270, 273, 278, 

279, 281, 286, 288, 









Rama Chandra 





Ran Doiiya 

Ran Mali 





£6, 93, 115. 


1. 89. 






10, 11. 





Rayigam Korale 46, 48, 72, 130. 

Redondo, Conde de 205. 

Red Sea 22, 24, 30, 46. 

Remembrances, Office of 193. 

Revenue 182-189, 194. 

Ribeiro, Joao 180, 238. 

Rice 2. 16. 

Richelieu 243. 

Road 187. 

Rodi 145 153. 

Rome 9, 10, 29, 122, 251. 

Ruhuna 5. 6, 11, 16,30. 140. 

Ruwanella 129 144, 288. 

Ruwanweli Seya 7, 18, 198. 

Sa, Constantinu de 205, 209-217. 

Sakalakalawallabha 32, 36. 

Salt 166. 

Saltpetre 100. 

Salvation Army 153. 

Samanala 95. 

Samarakon Rala 126, 132, 141, 

142, 158, 159, 

160, 163, 168, 

169, 252. 

Dom Diogo 132. 

Samorin 47, 48, 49. 

Samudra Devi 48, 51, 72. 

Sanctuary 170. 

Sanghamitta 3. 

Sanskrit 96, 

Sannas 29, 34, 45, 78. 197, 254. 

Saparagamuwa 140, 142, 143, 
203, 217, 239. 

Sebastiao, Dom 77, 81. 

Sekraya 1, 263. 

Selalihini Sandesaya 26. 

Sembahap Perumal 51, 69, 75, 93. 

Senerat 164, 167, 170, 192, 197, 

200, 207, 209, 210, 221. 

Senkadagala 20, 43, 71, 112, 

140. 143. 148, 

149, 152, 164. 

171, 213, 221. 


Seven Korales 74, 140, 146, 204,* 

216, 239. 247, 262. 


Sidat Sangarawa 

Silva, Diogo de 
Francisco de, 




Ill, 114. 


Silveira, Dom Joao de 34 36. 

Sindbad 73, 

Sinhalese See Ceylon. 

Sinigama 109. 

Siri Sanga bo 9. 

SJta 1. 

Sitawaka 4(6, 50, 63, 67, 68, 

71, 84, 87, 93, 

95, 113, 115, 

125, 129, 130, 

159. 204, 242, 


:>iva 89, 95. 

Slave 188, 259. 

Smallpox 58, 92. 

Smithtieid 70. 

Soldan 22. 

Sousa, Payo de 25, 28, 29. 

Mar. Affonco de, 48, 49, 54, 56. 

Faria y. 69, 

Manoelde 93, 108, llu, 


Thome de 107, 108, 134. 
135, 136. 

Pedro de 116-125, 141, 157. 
Spam 182. 

Spartan 43. 

Spilbergen, Joris Van 149-153. 

Sripada 5, 95, 142, 206. 

Stel, Adrian Vander, 247, Z48. 

Suicide 187. 

Sulphur 100. 

Sunyawansa 55. 

Susa 127. 

Susruta 231. 

Tamil 19. 

Tammita See Sembahap. 

Tanjor 9, 2U6. 

Tank 3, 7, 10, 18. 

Tavernier 98, 174. 

Tax 187. 

Tebuwana 262. 

Teixeira, Luva 206, 215. 

Antonio 232. 

Tennekon 2/i. 

Tenure, Land 37, 178, 179. 

Theocritus 154. 

Thuparama 5, 198. 

Thyssen 237,239. 

Tikiri Rajjuru Bandara 

See Raja Sinha. 
Toll 187 

Tombo 175-185, 197 

Totagamuwa 23, 80. 

Tranquebar 220. 

Travancore 220. 

Trincomalee 5, 92. 109, 166, 

209, 230, 238, 242. 
Tupas 132-222. 

Turk 22. 70. 

Tuticorin 288. 

Uduwara 132. 

Upatissa 11 

Ura Kanda 157. 

Utuwan Kanda 157. 

Uwa 12, 13, 14, 100, 142, 201. 

Vedda 122. 

Vedor See Ferreira. 

Venice 22. 

Vidane, See Korale 185, 258. 

Vihare See Buddha. 

Vijayanagara 89. 

Vina 153. 

Viradareya 85. 

Vira Rama Pattanam 19. 

Vishnu 1, 89, 109. 

Voharaka Tissa 9. 

Waitulya 9, 10. 

Walagamba 8. 

Walauwa 179. 

Walawe Ganga 16, 84, 140, 166. 
Wanni 98. 

Wasala 11, 

Water, Holy 1. 

Wax 228, 235. 

Weert. Seebald de 154, 160-162. 
Welekma 187. 

Weligama 26, 89, 109. 

Wellawaya 216. 

Weragoda Deviyo 109. 

Wesak 1. 

Westerwold, Adam Van, 227, 228. 
Widiye Bandara 47, 48, 64, ^67. 
69, 70, 71-75, 86. 
Wijaya Bahu 14. 15. 36. 40, 42. 
43. 213. 
Wijayakon 111. 

Wijayapala 51, 213, 221, 227. 

230, 235, 239-241. 
Wijayo 1, 2, 3, 34, 75. 

Wikrama Bahu 32, 72. 

Wikrama Sinha 72, 84, 86. 99, 129, 
Wimala Dharma See Konappu. 
Wira Sundara 92. 93 

Woifendahl 270. 

Xavier, Francis57, 58. 64, 65,70,77. 
Xeraphin 56. 

Yakada Doliya 55. 

Yakdessa 74. 

Yakka 1. 

Yamanoo 99 


RiBERio's Ceilao, 2nd Ed. 450 pages - Rs. 5.rX) 

Ceylon, the Portuguese Era, 2 vols., 
with Maps and Illustrations, 1250 
pages. ..." 15.00 

Ceylon and the Hollanders, 1558,— 
1796, 200 pages, Map and frontis- 
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The Kingdom OF Jafanapatam, 1645, 

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For Sale at The Colombo Apothecaries CoMPA^^r. 

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This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 




EP 1 5 ^3^9 

T 1 3 1969 

<<?Mn MAR 3) 

'WAV 1 5,, 

A ^' 


JM 15 



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